Two months ago, Google bought out Waze for a tremendous $1.03 billion figure. Waze is a community-driven GPS-navigation system, where users can check in to certain locations, post about real-time traffic, and community maps editing, with users getting reputation points for doing so. The Waze application gained a lot of popularity, on both Android and iOS, before Google’s acquisition, which was assumed to be to help improve Google Maps . Now, Google and Waze announced a unique collaboration between the 2 products, bringing great new features to both.
On the Waze side, Google Search is now integrated into the application, along with Foursquare, Yelp, making finding nearby restaurants and businesses with reviews much simpler. The Map edit feature on Waze now comes with Google satellite imaging and Google street view, to easily make changes reported by the users, giving a great dynamic feedback to Waze maps. Wazers can now fill in missing information in it’s map, like house numbers, one-way turns, using Google Street View’s interface, making things much simpler.
Google Maps users will also find much to benefit from this successful partnership. Real-time incident reports on Waze will now appear on Google Maps. Incident reports include accidents, construction, road closures and other travel inconveniences which now show up on Google Maps. This brings a more user and community-driven element to Google Maps, along with some user-feedback. The reporter remains anonymous, and the Wazer still get rep points.
The Google Maps update for Android and iOS for United States, UK, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Switzerland will now have access to real-time data.
This also shows us that Google is treating Waze more like a community-driven input to it’s Maps application, and that both platforms are likely to interact, but not meld into one super-application. This probably means Waze will continue to develop and receive updates, and that Google and Waze can co-exist to create a unique hybrid of user-feedback-driven and tested-and-reliable massive-scale map system, and makes moving around town and exploring new places so much simpler.