Waze is expanding its carpool service to cover the entire state of California, after successful trials in San Francisco, Sacramento, Monterey, and across Israel.
The app identifies suitable commuters that live in between the driver’s home and work locations. The rider pays their share of the gas money in exchange for the ride, which currently costs less than the price of an Uber or Lyft.
The service is currently limited to one driver and one passenger, meaning professional drivers cannot make an income on the app.
California is the first of a few planned expansions by Waze, the next being Brazil, expected to be ready by late 2017. The service is already active in Tel Aviv, the company’s home city.
Some speculate that Waze Carpool could be Google’s way into the ride-sharing market, which may incorporate self-driving cars. The search giant acquired Waze in 2013 for $1.1 billion but has so far kept the service independent of its other mapping efforts.
A recent patent showed Google is testing a pickup location finder, but the patent did not mention either of the company’s mapping services.
Both Google and Waze have been silent on the possibility of adding paid drivers or self-driving cars to the carpool service. With the company’s self-driving division, Waymo, currently suing Uber for stealing trade secrets, we may have to wait a bit longer before any substantial new developments.