Waze Carpool gets rebuilt for Brazil launch

The ride-sharing service goes live nearly a year late due to adaptations required for the local market.

Traffic and navigation app Waze has rebuilt its ride-sharing product Carpool to offer it in Brazil, a process that delayed the launch by nearly a year.

The app went live in Brazil last week. The original plan was to make the app available to local users in September last year.

Read this

Google and Waze: What made the Israeli startup say yes?

The Waze team was determined not to force employees to pull up roots — was this one of the big factors in choosing Google?

Read More

In March 2017, Di-Ann Eisnor, Waze's growth director, announced at a Google event in São Paulo that Brazil, the company's second largest market globally, had been chosen to be the next country to offer the product.

According to Douglas Tokuno, head for the Waze Carpool project in Brazil, the delay was caused by a need to adapt the product to local market needs and test the product with limited audiences.

"In our experiences in other markets, we have learned that the product focus should be the users rather than the rides," Tokuno told ZDNet.

To cater for the specific needs of the Brazilian audience, the app remodeling process focused on aspects including the algorithm that matches up drivers and riders. The team also worked on in-app chat and call functions.

As a result of the launch of the new service, Waze also set up a local support team, as well as what it's describing as "efficient payment system."

Over the last year, Waze also carried out trials with about 60 Brazilian organizations, from oil company Petrobras to cosmetics firm Natura, who offered the service to their staff.

"Waze Carpool stimulates the sustainable use of cars and enhances staff connections through the common purpose of making choices that impact their life positively as well as others," said Flávio Pesiguelo, Vice President of People, Culture and Organization at Natura.

For a limited period, rides in Brazil will cost 2 reais ($0.48) for those requesting it, while drivers will receive 4 reais ($0.96) for routes ranging less than 5 kilometers, and 10 reais ($2.41) for rides with distance ranging up to 40 kilometers. Drivers will be able to offer up to two rides a day.

The new carpooling function is already in operation in six US states - California, Texas, Washington, Massachusetts, Illinois and Nevada - in addition to Israel.