Google have been flexing their financial muscle and have purchased an innovative company delivering crowd sourced traffic information in the hope of improving their own real time mapping and traffic offerings.
What the purchase has also done is provide some publicity for an excellent idea which I’d never previously heard of, which in turn will undoubtedly increase the user base and vastly improve the product. The more users a ‘crowd sourcing’ application has, the better it is.
Waze has been around for four years and was founded in Israel where the majority of its ninety employees work. It has its global headquarters in California and currently boasts around 47 million users worldwide.
Google are reported to have paid in the region of $1.3billion (£850million) for the company and beat off competition from Apple and Facebook who had both shown an interest.
A statement on Google’s official blog said the Waze team and current users had “created a great source of timely road corrections and updates”.
The app essentially turns a smart-phone into a web community-based GPS device, bringing elements of a social network into an online mapping service, to produce more precise directions and better information about traffic conditions.”
It’s definitely worth a look. The graphics are nice, you get an icon as a member which shows how long you’ve been reporting (and therefore I guess how trustworthy your reports are). It also gives access to petrol prices, police traffic control camera locations and where any ‘friends’ who are also members are at the present time.