​Google's Waze launches rush hour ride-sharing app

Google says it's not taking on Uber with a new pilot from Waze that will focus solely on commuters.

Google is getting into the ride-sharing business through Waze: the app has launched a new match-making service for commuters called RideWith.

Waze has launched the carpooling pilot in its home territory of Israel, where RideWith will connect drivers with passengers who have similar routes and also handle the transaction fee between users, Waze announced in a blog post on Monday.

Google bought Waze in 2013 for $1bn, giving the search giant a community of drivers who provide traffic data which compliments Google Maps. The launch of RideWith has the potential to put Google into closer competition with Uber, as well as ride-sharing rivals such as Lyft and France's city-to-city ride-sharing service BlaBlaCar.

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Drivers with the Waze app installed will need to opt-in to the RideWith service, while passengers need to install the RideWith app that for now has launched exclusively for Android.

Waze has put a few restrictions on the service that clearly define it, for now, as a match-making tool for work commuters.

During the pilot, the app will only available during "standard rush hour times", while riders will be limited to two trips per day - to work and back.

The RideWith app will also calculate and suggest a payment that riders will need to 'pitch in' ahead of a ride, in order to cover the cost of wear and tear on the vehicle. This will be based on gas and mileage.

According to its terms of service, drivers are paid out once a month based on their cumulative participation. Google, via a third party payment processor, handles the payment between passenger and driver and may take a cut.

The move comes as Uber shapes up as a new rival to Google's driverless car efforts. Google's investment arm Google Ventures was an early and key backer of Uber, but more recently some have speculated the two are on course to be fierce rivals due to their equal potential to corner the taxi market.

A Google spokesperson, however, told the Wall Street Journal that the new Waze pilot is not a competitive move against Uber.

"RideWith is an experiment in the Tel Aviv area that doesn't compete with Uber. It's a platform built to enable local drivers to help each other during busy commute hours," a spokesman for Google said in an email to the WSJ.

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