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Why Google's Uber Competitor Scares Me

The scariest thing about ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft is the chance you take of getting into a car with a driver who is going to harass, stalk or maybe even murder you. Well, Google doesn't seem to give a damn about that fear, as a new report explains that not only is the search giant developing its own ride-hailing app, it also doesn't really have a plan to screen drivers.

Credit: Logoboom/Shutterstock

(Image credit: Logoboom/Shutterstock)

According to a Wall Street Journal report yesterday (August 30), Google started a pilot program for a ride-hailing app using its Waze navigation tool. The service has been operating near Google's California headquarters since May, and the company plans to roll it out to all San Francisco users this fall.

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The big red flag hidden in this report is that Google "doesn’t plan to vet drivers … instead relying on user reviews to weed out problem drivers." To which I ask: Why? So it can hire all of the folks that can't pass other companies' screening processes, and place us in their questionable hands?

Who cares if users have terrible, frightening experiences? Google will solve it later. You have to wonder who in Google HQ saw this plan and thought "this is fine."

Waze drivers will be just like those at the wheel of Uber and Lyft rides, as they are not employees of the company, which basically makes them strangers to everyone involved. So if you want the most risk involved with your next ride, Waze seems like it will be the way.

The Journal claims that Waze is currently looking to undercut all of its competitors, offering riders rates that seem to be capped at 54 cents per mile, (typically in San Francisco, Lyft is $1.16 per mile and Uber is $1.30 per mile). The service will reportedly "connect riders with drivers who are already headed in the same direction," which sounds similar to the carpool options offered by Uber and Lyft.

We've reached out to Google to comment, and will update this story if we receive a response.

Henry T. Casey

Henry is an editor writer at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and Apple. Prior to joining Tom's Guide — where he's the self-described Rare Oreo Expert — he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. You can find him at your local pro wrestling events, and looking for the headphone adapter that he unplugged from his iPhone.