Over the almost four years since it paid $1.1 billion for navigation startup Waze, Google Inc.’s plans for the traffic-avoidance app haven’t always been clear—even to the people who work there. Di-Ann Eisnor, Waze’s head of growth, says she was languishing inside the Google behemoth; her stock options payout didn’t make her feel much better.
“I had just made a bunch of money. I should have been happy,” she says. In 2015, two years in, her feelings hadn’t changed much. Eisnor says she and other executives huddled in Waze’s Tel Aviv offices to ask, “How the hell are we going to stay here if we’re bored?”
Instead of leaving the company, the group decided to expand Waze beyond avoiding traffic accidents and speed traps.
Waze Carpool, a separate app, started as a small pilot in Israel that year and is now also available in San Francisco and Brazil. A more literal ride-sharing service than taxi alternatives such as Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc., Waze Carpool lets drivers schedule passenger pickups along their planned routes in exchange for a few bucks worth of gas money from riders, or even to just speed up their commutes with access to the carpool […]