Waze, the navigation app owned by Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google unit, is quietly transforming into a ride-sharing service that could eventually rival the likes of Uber and Lyft.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the internet giant plans to make Waze's carpool service available in several U.S. cities and Latin America in the coming months, marking a massive expansion of the app that uses crowdsourced data to give real-time traffic and navigation information. It's unclear which cities the carpool service will be launched in.
"We look forward to potentially bringing Carpool to additional cities in the future," said Josh Fried, Waze Carpool's head of business development, in a statement. Fried declined to comment on any additional plans.
Waze carpool encourages regular drivers to pick up other users along their route and is, in most cases, several dollars cheaper than Uber or Lyft. Google decided to expand the carpooling service after it was piloted in Israel and San Francisco last February and received positive results, according to the Journal.
Google bought Waze for about $1 billion in 2013 and the service has since grown to 75 million users, up from the approximately 45 million users it had four years ago. Google has looked to utilize Waymo's vast user data that provides "incredibly accurate," up-to-date maps as a way of building out its other services, said Bob O'Donnell, president of market research firm TECHnalysis Research.
The user data from Waze has the potential to push Google to the forefront of autonomous driving technology, which it has been exploring through its Waymo self-driving car unit.