On the 11th of June Google publically announced their acquisition of the social crowd sourcing sat-nav app called Waze for a reported $1.3bn (£835 million).
Waze, the Israel-based start up, has received a great deal of interest from other internet tech giants Apple and Facebook over the past few months, however it was Google whom swept-in and snapped them up.
The Waze app combines both sat-nav like mapping services with social objectives and scoring aspect that encourages its users to post updates on traffic activity such as traffic jams, speed cameras and even temporary police traps. This information is then made available to all users allowing real time, up to the minute traffic reports.
What this means for Google
It’s obvious why Google would be keen to add a service such as Waze to its maps arsenal. With Microsoft pushing their own map service and now Apple joining the race it’s important for Google to stay ahead of the curve and the addition of real-time traffic information would most definitely be a game changer.
However, as we look deeper at the potential this opens up not just for Google Maps but for other Google services it becomes clear that this could mean great things that would further separate Google from their competitors.
With Google actively developing their Google Now service across multiple platforms including iPhone and Google Chrome, what they dub ‘the future of search’, where search content is predicted based on your habits and delivered to you before you feel the need to search for it, it’s obvious how data gathered via Waze could help.
Upon leaving for work in the morning are we already updated with the fastest route to work and the estimated time it will take, but imagine how much more beneficial such a feature would be if your alert also included up to the minute traffic jams or temporary road works informing you of crowd sourced alternative routes.
You would know to take the back roads instead of the main road due to a collision that happened minutes before, or to slow down due to the temporary speed trap further down the road. It’s also possible to see a future where we receive a notification informing you to leave an hour early to catch your flight as a road has been closed due to maintenance via Google Now’s ability to deliver flight times.
Ultimately Waze brings that next progressive step to Google’s services that Google have made clear they’re intended in going. It brings what’s currently a great feature (Google Now) a level of connectivity and awareness of the real world that would offer some truly innovative features that many have tried but fell short of the mark.
As an huge Android advocate I’m genuinely excited to hear of Google’s acquisition of Waze and look forward to seeing what innovative features it will bring Google Maps, Google Navigate and Google Now as continue to lead the way in the smartphone industry.