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Google's Waze launches app to get Israelis to carpool to work

Google is taking a test drive in the on-demand carpooling business.

Starting Monday, at rush hour in parts of Israel, Google’s Waze navigation app will help carpoolers find one another.

The experiment, based on a new app called Ridewith, is a baby step toward competition with on-demand transportation services such as Uber and Lyft.

Although Google is an investor in Uber, the two companies aren’t afraid to get into each other’s business. Google is the world leader in self-driving car technology, but Uber recently hired top self-driving-car researchers from Carnegie Mellon University. And Uber is busy acquiring mapping technology, a sign that it may want to wean itself off Google Maps data.

With Ridewith, Google inches into Uber territory. Unlike most on-demand ride services, Ridewith isn’t contracting an army of drivers; instead it’s coordinating everyday commuters. 

Drivers will be paid only estimated costs of fuel and wear and tear, and will be limited to two rides a day. They’ll have to carry their own insurance.

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