Google’s Waze carpool app expands to California, including LA

Through Waze and Waymo, Alphabet’s strategy of positioning itself as a key player in the transportation industry becomes clear.

In what is seen as the largest ever rollout of Alphabet-owned Waze, starting from next week, the navigation app will expand its carpool service throughout California, including the key car hub of Los Angeles.

The ride services industry has attracted many tech giants and automakers. From Alphabet, Uber, Ford and General Motors, and even start-ups, mobility services are seen as the future of transportation.

Starting from June 6, users of the Waze Carpool app will be able to find rides from Waze drivers already coming their way – and vice versa – throughout the state.

Previously this service was available in the San Francisco Bay Area only.

“Carpooling takes density and doing it on a limited capacity, you can only learn so much,” said Josh Fried, head of Waze Carpool. “We wanted to expand to a Waze hub. It’s our first attempt to see if we can go big into a region.”

He went on to add, the number of Waze users in Los Angeles is the highest in the world.

Ride-sharers share the cost of gasoline with the drivers, which is calculated at $.54 per mile.

Although currently Waze takes no cut from the transactions, eventually though it plans on taking a commission “when the quality of the service is high enough to warrant this,” said Fried.

Alphabet’s Waze’s focus on the driving experience stands in contrast to Waymo, which is developing self-driving technology.

“We have two different roadmaps,” said Fried, who noted that it will take at least a decade before self-driving cars hit the market.

In the meantime, Fried said Waze enjoyed Google’s “full support to take the time we need to make this work.”

By the end of this year, Waze will also be launched in Brazil.


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