Google parent Alphabet Inc. is getting into the ride-sharing business pioneered by Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc.
The Internet search giant is testing out a new app that helps people find carpools using Alphabet’s Waze navigation app, The Wall Street Journal reports
. The program will first be tested in the San Francisco area.
“Riders will pay drivers 54 cents a mile, and Alphabet won’t take a cut during the pilot,” the newspaper reports. “The program signals Alphabet is likely to use Waze as a way into the increasingly popular world of ride sharing, pitting it more directly against Uber, the world’s most valuable private venture-capital-backed company, which dominates ride sharing in the U.S.”
The relationship between Uber and Google is increasingly fraught as Uber develops its own mapping and driverless-car technology that would compete with Google.
The companies used to have a cozier relationship, as Google Ventures invested $250 million in Uber in 2013 and allowed people to book rides with the Google Maps app.
Alphabet last year started testing its carpooling app, Waze Rider, in Tel Aviv.
“Thousands of people now use the app across Israel, where Alphabet takes a 15% commission on each ride,” according to the WSJ. “In the fall, Google employees began testing the app and their use will expand under the new pilot.”
Apple Inc. last week invested $1 billion in Didi, a Chinese ride-hailing startup that competes with Uber, which is trying to expand in the communist country.
The iPhone maker also is helping Didi develop a ride-sharing platform of more than 11 million rides a day and serves about 300 million users across China, Didi said in a statement.
The Apple investment puts Didi’s funding at about $3 billion, giving the company a value of about $26 billion, according to unnamed sources cited by Bloomberg News
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