Google’s Waze testing carpooling despite Uber backlash

The Waze app on a mobile phone.
Nir Elias | Reuters
The Waze app on a mobile phone.

A Google-owned navigation start-up is the latest to show interest the ride-sharing space, despite the controversy surrounding Uber's expansion in the area.

Waze said it was testing a carpooling service in Israel that lets commuters share rides for a small cost.

Called RideWith, the service connects people will others driving to where they want to go. A driver will get a notification through the RideWith app and can choose to accept or reject a passenger request.

Riders will pay for the "cost of gas" and "wear and tear" of the vehicle, with payment made via the app. Waze will take a small commission on the transaction.

Ride-sharing services – notably Uber's UberPOP – have come under fire in a number of countries around the world, particularly in Europe.

UberPOP is different to Uber's better-known taxi service, which requires drivers to undergo training before they can pick up passengers.

In contrast, UberPOP drivers are not required to have any training or taxi license, and so can offer trips in their own cars at a cheaper rate. This angered France's taxi drivers, who were being undercut, and Uber suspended uberPOP in the country last week after riots.

But Waze was keen to differentiate its ride-sharing trial, analysts said. For example, its service is not designed to provide people with a full time job.

Indeed, Waze said drivers would be limited to just two trips a day – from home to work and back – in a bid to avoid the wrath of taxi drivers and regulators, according to analysts.

Read MoreUber to develop driverless cars in Google challenge

"Google doesn't want to be seen as disruptive, especially in Europe where they are staying onside with regulations because there is so much regulatory action lined up against them," Martin Garner, senior vice president at CCS Insight, told CNBC.

"They are trying to be deliberately different from Uber because being seen to be similar would be unhelpful."

But it is its UberPOP that has caused the most amount of controversy. The ride-sharing service -- is different to Uber's better-known taxi service, which requires driver to undergo training before they can pick up passengers.

In contrast, UberPOP drivers are not required to have any training or taxi license, and so can offer trips in their own cars at a cheaper rate. This service angered France's taxi drivers as they were being undercut and caused riots and violence to breakout across the country last week. Uber suspended uberPOP last week.

But Waze has made it clear it is carrying out a "limited trial for Android users" in an area of Tel Aviv. It also said that the carpooling service is not aimed at being a full time job for people, unlike Uber. Waze also said drivers would be limited to just two trips a day – from home to work and back – in a bid to avoid the wrath of taxi drivers and regulators.