Waze, founded in 2007, is an Israeli and Palo Alto-based developer of free mapping and turn-by-turn navigation apps for Android and iOS. It experienced a fast and steady growth curve thanks to its unique way of obtaining traffic information...directly from its 50+ million users that act like traffic cops or field operatives recording real-time accidents, detours, or traffic backups directly into their smartphones. Waze only allows a user in a stopped vehicle to update information. When I tried to update a traffic situation this past weekend, Waze would not allow me to do so because I was moving and I had to hurry and do it at a traffic light!
Apple, Facebook, and Google were all vying to purchase Waze for different reasons. Apple was still wheeling from its own misadventure into a mapping system to outdo Google Maps. Facebook wanted to take their social networking one-step further by jumping into the mobile game. Google already has a world class mapping system, but lacked real-time traffic updates and Waze would add that missing piece to make Google Maps complete.
The two successful companies, Google and Waze, decided to combine forces this past June when Google announced it was going to buy Waze for approximately $1 Billion. It was a marriage made in heaven - the power of Google Maps and the wild, crazy, but committed, Waze community, where both companies and users could benefit.
Mobile Google Map users, both Android and iOS, navigating to their destinations will now receive Waze real-time updates concerning traffic tie-ups, accidents, road closures, and much more. These updates will appear in the U.S., UK, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Switzerland versions.
Waze's community will also benefit as well because Google Search has been incorporated and now Wazers will have access to more search engines, making it easier than ever to find a business, place, or local address. Included in the Waze Map Editor is the Google Street View and, if you find an error, you can easily report it to the community for fast corrections by Google.
Let us know in the comments if you use or like Waze...are you a closet Wazer.