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Old 06-11-2013, 10:53 AM  
Mr. Laz Mr. Laz is offline
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Google acquires Waze

Google Maps and Waze, outsmarting traffic together

Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
We’ve all been there: stuck in traffic, frustrated that you chose the wrong route on the drive to work. But imagine if you could see real-time traffic updates from friends and fellow travelers ahead of you, calling out “fender bender...totally stuck in left lane!” and showing faster routes that others are taking.

To help you outsmart traffic, today we’re excited to announce we’ve closed the acquisition of Waze. This fast-growing community of traffic-obsessed drivers is working together to find the best routes from home to work, every day.

The Waze product development team will remain in Israel and operate separately for now. We’re excited about the prospect of enhancing Google Maps with some of the traffic update features provided by Waze and enhancing Waze with Google’s search capabilities.

We’ll also work closely with the vibrant Waze community, who are the DNA of this app, to ensure they have what’s needed to grow and prosper.

The Waze community and its dedicated team have created a great source of timely road corrections and updates. We welcome them to Google and look forward to working with them in our ongoing effort to make a comprehensive, accurate and useful map of the world.

Posted by Brian McClendon, Vice President, Geo
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Old 06-11-2013, 07:17 PM   #2
KevB KevB is offline
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Why Waze matters for Android

Yes, folks. Google has just bought Waze, a social mapping and navigation platform and app that could have some big implications for Android users down the road.
Waze has been a hot-ticket item that Facebook had also considered snapping up, and with good reason, too. The platform has evolved from its early days to offer robust real-time driving alerts with a social side, and it's popularity has spiked.
While pieces of Waze folded into Google Maps will benefit all users across Google's sprawl of properties and products, Waze can bring a special level of utility to mobilized commuters on foot, bike, bus, or car.

In Google Maps
Waze's best features are its real-time alerts that clue you into accidents, road debris, potholes, construction, and other events that could slow your commute.
These changes can happen in the short space of time you check your route on the computer and climb into your car, so using it on mobile can save a lot of time, or at least let you know what you're in for.
If we were Google, we would immediately lay Waze's crowdsourced driving know-how into the back end and use it to dynamically reroute you based on real-time traffic, as accidents occur.
It would also be such a boon to see the native mapping app help commuters intelligently decide on the most efficient route. For instance, we can't tell you how many times we've exited the freeway early when traffic got backed up, not knowing if taking surface streets would actually get us home faster than waiting it out.
Google could also add some Waze elements to the traffic and gas layer, taking advantage of Waze's real-time gas price reporting as you're hunting for a top-up.

In Google Now
Waze's real-time alerts are perfectly suited to Google Now, those anticipated notification cards and drop-down menu alerts that can tell you when to leave. We'd like to see Google let you control how detailed your alerts are: do you want to know about accidents between Point A and Point B, or just when to leave and how to get there best?

In Driving Mode
Android's driving mode can also benefit from Waze up front. Waze works its crowdsourcing magic passively by measuring a driver's GPS and speeds and route, and actively when driver's update with road conditions.
With driving mode on, the Android maps's integrated Waze could not only surface road alerts on the map and dynamically reroute, it could also link its Google Voice Search to Wazelike features for drivers to offer announcements hands-free in driving mode.

The social element
In addition to practicality, Waze has a social element (and, strangely, a gaming angle, too). Integrating Waze features with Google+ can take advantage of the way that Waze handles common destinations among friends.
It isn't hard to imagine sharing traffic updates or commute details with your specific circle of users based on common locations. Likewise, we can see benefits in using the "nearby" tab in Google+ for accident reports, speed traps, or hazards. After all, Waze already gained ground with Facebook sharing and integration with Waze's current service.

Outside the car
Google has a robust directions engine in some locations for buses, trains, and bicycles. Waze's social and real-time collection engines would dovetail nicely with Google's own in-house efforts.

Android maps versus the competition
Google already has a leg up on mobile mapping (way up) without Waze's help, but adding some of its specific, social real-time alerts can make Google Maps even more essential for millions of Android fans.
Even beyond Android use, integrating Waze can help Google maintain its lead over Apple's nascent mapping system and Microsoft's Nokia Here mapping partnership. If other mobile platforms step it up to compete, the time could be ripe for additional acquisitions of this sort; Glympse's location sharing feature seems like the sort of low-hanging fruit that could make it next.
Other app companies like Life360 or Badoo could also follow suit.
Realistically, we're in for a slow integration of Waze features into Android in particular and Google in general, but we're looking forward to the road ahead.
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Old 06-11-2013, 10:07 PM   #3
DaFace DaFace is offline
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I'll be curious to see how it progresses. I rely on Google's time estimates every morning and evening when deciding what route to take to/from work, so I can imagine this will only make that better.
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