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Lyft integrates Google's Waze to pick up passengers faster than Uber

Pitched as an improvement for Lyft's driver-facing app

Lyft announced Tuesday that it is joining forces with Google's Waze to improve navigation and congestion avoidance for the ride-hail service's drivers. Lyft will integrate Waze's Transport SDK (software development kit) into its app, allowing drivers to update their routes in real time and improve the efficiency of pick-ups and drop-offs.

Drivers will be able to switch seamlessly back and forth between Lyft and Waze using a new "Return to Lyft" button. And to help keep their customer ratings high through more efficient trips, Lyft says that Waze, which uses crowdsourcing data to reduce traffic and improve routing, will now be the default navigation tool for all of its drivers.

"The first and only ride-sharing company to incorporate Waze's latest advancements"

The move is an interesting one, considering last year Waze launched a carpooling pilot called RideWith in Israel. It was a small launch, but still seen as an attempt by Google to compete with the ride-sharing big boys like Uber and Lyft. Waze also unveiled an update to its app last October with "improved visibility and clarity," which Lyft says will help drivers get around better.

Lyft is "the first and only ride-sharing company to incorporate Waze's latest advancements," said Oliver Hsiang, vice president of business development at the San Francisco-based ride-hail service. "Lyft and Waze share a similar vision for a future with less congestion, and we couldn't be happier to be working with them closely to make that a reality," Hsiang added. It's not uncommon to see ride-hail drivers of all services use Waze, so Lyft's integration may give it a leg up with drivers who rely heavily on the app.

The partnership is the latest in a series of team-ups for Lyft seemingly designed to boost the perception that it is a viable competitor to the much larger, more popular, and better financed Uber. Last month, General Motors said it was investing $500 million in Lyft and would collaborate with the ride-hail service on creating a fleet of on-demand, fully autonomous vehicles. Before that, Lyft said it was joining forces with three of Asia's most popular ride-sharing apps: China's Didi Kuaidi, India's Ola, and Southeast Asia's GrabTaxi. The alliance was widely seen as a bid to slow Uber's global growth.

But Uber has shown no sign of slowing. The company continues to raise capital at a steady clip, is developing its own self-driving technology, and is constantly seeking new ways to undercut its rivals. Most recently, Uber announced it was slashing prices in 100 US cities as a way to make up for the drop in business during the winter months. Lyft had no choice but to follow suit.