Those who thought that the intensely competitive ridesharing industry may not see a major competitor are in for a surprise as Google has decided to challenge Uber and Lyft. According to reliable sources who have worked at the backstage of Google project, the company is likely to launch its Waze App project as soon as the coming fall season. Traditionally, the rideshare industry was dominated by Uber, which has a total market value of approximately $68 billion dollars. In fact, Uber regularly faced fierce competition from another rival based in the same locality, Lyft. Now, it seems that the tide is again turning as Uber and Lyft will face yet another major competitor from their own turf.
The new ridesharing program by Google is not an instantaneous decision. Inline with the company’s culture, Google was already evaluating the program by allowing workers in specific companies to try ridesharing using the Waze App software. Only after careful evaluation, the company has planned to challenge Uber. Regarding the competitive advantage, Google is trying to be different by offering a low cost alternative to either Uber or Lyft. As such, it is estimated that the ridesharing will cost approximately $0.53 per mile to consumers, which is lower than Google’s competitors. Reports suggest that Google’s business model does not rely on the typical taxi-service models offered by Uber. Instead, users are matched with other people in the area who are going in the same direction. Therefore, it seems that the model is more identical to carpooling instead of the usual taxi-service.
News from inside sources also indicate that the new service will count on taking advantage of the tax-break. As a typical driver will not operate a professional service such as Uber taxi, therefore the service should be seen as “sharing the gas money” instead of developing a taxi business. Interestingly, it is notable that Uber is also aware of the plan because Google had invested nearly $238 million in Uber service, back in 2013. To counter such threats, Uber is challenging Google in relevant areas as the company plans to operate the first driver-less taxi service in Pittsburgh, later this year. As for Google, it is yet to be seen how Waze App will confront challenges regarding security issues of carpooling with someone who is not a professional per se.