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Google Takes on Uber With New Ride-Share Service

Google’s ride-sharing use uses a Waze app to bond with associate commuters.

Google is relocating onto Uber Technologies Inc.’s territory with a possess ride-sharing use in San Francisco that would assistance commuters low join carpools, pronounced a chairman informed with a matter, jumping into a sepulchral though fiercely opposition market.

Google, a section of Alphabet Inc.,


began a commander module around a California domicile in May that enables several thousand area workers during specific firms to use a Waze app to bond with associate commuters. It skeleton to open a module to all San Francisco-area Waze users this fall, a chairman said, with hopes of expanding a use if successful. Waze, that Google acquired in 2013, offers real-time pushing directions formed on information from other drivers.

Unlike Uber and a crosstown San Francisco opposition Lyft Inc., that any mostly work as on-demand cab businesses, Waze wants to bond riders with drivers who are already headed in a same direction. The association has pronounced it aims to make fares low adequate to daunt drivers from handling as cab drivers. Waze’s stream commander charges riders during many 54 cents a mile—less than many Uber and Lyft rides—and, for now, Google doesn’t take a fee.

Still, Google’s lift into ride-sharing could portend a strife with Uber, a seven-year-old organisation valued during roughly $68 billion that mostly invented a judgment of summoning a automobile with a smartphone app.

Google and Uber were once allies—Google invested $258 million in Uber in 2013—but some-more recently have turn rivals in some areas. Alphabet executive David Drummond pronounced on Monday that he quiescent from Uber’s house since of rising foe between a pair. Uber, that has prolonged used Google’s mapping program for a ride-hailing service, recently began building a possess maps.

The dual also are racing to rise driverless cars. Google has led a approach with such technology, first a devise in 2009 that has now amassed some-more than 1.8 million miles of unconstrained pushing with a exam cars. Uber progressing this month bought Ottomotto LLC, a six-month-old driverless-truck startup founded by Google veterans. Uber pronounced it skeleton to start contrast robotic taxis in Pittsburgh over a subsequent several weeks, violence Google to a blurb exam of self-driving technology.

Uber and Lyft declined to comment.

Waze is one partial of Google’s incomparable ambitions to invert transportation. Google is deliberation contrast a driverless cars in a ride-sharing service, people informed with a matter said, and executives have identified ride-sharing as a intensity business indication for a self-driving technology.

Waze’s trail in new markets could impersonate a growth in Israel, where a association was founded, according to a chairman informed with a matter. Google started contrast a carpool use for Israeli commuters on Waze final year, and it fast expanded. The Waze ride-sharing use is now accessible during all hours in many tools of Israel.

In a San Francisco pilot, any internal Waze user can pointer adult as a driver, though ridership is singular to roughly 25,000 San Francisco-area employees of several vast firms, including Google, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.


and Adobe Systems Inc.


Riders are singular to dual rides a day—intended to packet them to and from work.

In a designed expansion, anyone with a Waze app in a San Francisco area could pointer adult to be a supplement or driver, a chairman said. Though Google now doesn’t collect a fee, a association is exploring opposite rates in Israel and San Francisco, a chairman informed with a matter said.

Ben Schachter, an researcher during Macquarie Group Ltd.


, pronounced a Waze ride-sharing use is a healthy subsequent step for Google, that has done transparent a intentions to pierce into transportation. He warned that a association would need to navigate several intensity pitfalls, including authorised and reserve issues.

“I don’t consider they’ve had any poignant knowledge in a lot of a issues that will certainly arise around” starting a ride-sharing business, Mr. Schachter said.

Like Uber and Lyft, Waze’s drivers aren’t employees of a company, a chairman said. Unlike Uber, Google doesn’t devise to oldster drivers for a Waze service, instead relying on user reviews to weed out problem drivers, a chairman said.

Waze, that operates as a possess section within Google, boasts 65 million active users, many of whom warning other users to military or trade accidents—a hallmark of a app.

Robert Rickett, a 29-year-old nonprofit workman in Sacramento, Calif., pronounced he uses Waze for navigation daily, quite while pushing for Lyft in a evenings. But he pronounced he wouldn’t desert Lyft for a Waze ride-hailing service, unless it offering him improved opportunities as a driver.

Still, he remarkable Waze’s certain repute among drivers is a large advantage—though he certified he didn’t know Google owned a service.

“They have a lot of people who trust Waze,” he pronounced while pushing dual Lyft passengers opposite a Bay Bridge into Oakland, Calif. “If they can gain on that, they could lift some marketplace share.”

Write to Jack Nicas during jack.nicas@wsj.com

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