Google's Waze mapping service launches carpooling trial in Israel
As Apple looks to expand its Maps effort with public transit information, Google its taking its Waze service in a different direction, debuting a new ride sharing feature that is being tested in Israel.
The new carpooling function in Waze, dubbed RideWith, uses a driver's planned route to work, and suggests other users they might be able to pick up along the way. Details on the pilot program were revealed this week by Reuters.
Waze confirmed that the "small, private beta test" is underway in the "greater Tel Aviv area."
Drivers are limited to two trips per day, and cannot earn a salary from the carpooling service. And passengers will "order" a ride to or from work, and their payment will help cover the cost of gas and wear and tear on the car.
Google acquired Waze for $1 billion in 2013, and some of its functions, including crowd-sourced traffic data, have been integrated with its own Google Maps service. However, Waze also remains its own separate application, available for free on both iOS and Android.
Apple, meanwhile, ditched Google for its own proprietary mapping data starting with iOS 6. This year, with the launch of iOS 9, the company will expand its offering by integrating transit directions for buses, trains, subways and more.
Google Maps, of course, has had public transit directions for years. Apple Maps has a great deal of catching up to do in that respect, as transit directions at the launch of iOS 9 will only be available in a limited number of cities.