Google Is Gearing Up To Disrupt Uber

It was only a matter of time. Google is launching a ride-sharing service in San Francisco to undercut Uber, a startup it helped grow by investing more than $250 million, according to reports Tuesday.

Google’s new service will debut in September using its Waze mapping technology to pair riders with regular drivers headed the same direction, The Wall Street Journal first reported. The company has been piloting the program among 25,000 Bay Area tech employees for the past three months.

Described as “UberPool minus the Uber driver,” Google’s service will charge 54 cents per mile, compared with the $1.15 per mile Uber charges in San Francisco. Rather than screen drivers, Google plans to rate them based on user feedback, according to the Journal.

Once partners who shared mapping technology, the tech and transportation behemoths will now compete directly in the rideshare space as each races to develop the driverless taxi model of the future. Google invested $258 million in Uber in 2013, and Uber uses Google Maps to route drivers, but lately the country’s largest rideshare company has been eager to break with Google, developing mapping technology of its own.

“The big asset Google holds is that they are in the OS and mapping layer already,” said a person familiar with the company’s plans. “They know your schedule and can pre-order a vehicle for you. Uber has a lead on the actual transport layer today, while Google is already ahead on the context layer.”

Google plans eventually to expand the service beyond San Francisco. “At some point Google gets better at the transport layer,” the source added.