The new service, which is backed by the brand new Waze Rider app for Android and iOS, is an invite-only affair for now, restricted to a small group of companies and their employees. For employers and workers not currently covered by the pilot, they can register their interest here.
However, the pilot program is limited to ride-seekers for now. Regular Waze users who happen to live and drive in the Bay Area can opt into the carpooling program through the usual Waze app (Android only for now). They will then create a driver profile and will be able to accept ride requests in the Bay Area.
Founded in Israel way back in 2007, Waze built a solid network and community around letting people share real-time traffic data, prompting Google to acquire the company for more than $1 billion back in 2013.
Carpooling is big business too, with the likes of Uber and Lyft encouraging their users to share car journeys, and Waze’s new service feels like a natural extension of its philosophy of helping people get from point A to point B without suffering the pain of traffic congestion.
It could be some time before Google’s self-driving project hits the mainstream — until then, it looks like the company will be helping Wazers cut traffic and costs through carpooling.