Google has pretty much nailed it when it comes to navigation and turn-by-turn directions with their Google Maps. Google made a wise decision and purchased Waze – a very popular app for commuters to help alert them where there are accidents, construction work going on, backups, and even speed traps. It only made good sense that Google would incorporate Waze into Google Maps – it goes together just like peanut butter and jelly.
Fast forward to Android Auto that is quickly making its way onto many vehicles’ displays as well as third party vendors such as Kenwood and Panasonic. There was one problem with both Waze and Android Auto – they were not together. Well, today at Google I/O they corrected that mistake by announcing that Waze will be included in an upcoming update that will be available in the coming months. Google said that Waze has been the most requested feature since Android Auto launched last year.
While Google Maps does have Waze built-in, it is used mostly to report an accident or delay, but the stand-alone app has many more features – speed trap warnings and speed limit indicators (recently added). Many commercial taxi drivers and ride-share drivers rely on Waze to help them navigate the city streets. But having it as an app on Android Auto will be the first time that a non-Google Maps navigation tool has become available on the platform. I doubt this will open the door to any other non-Google products - Google does, after all, own Waze. What would really be nice is if they could incorporate the full version of Waze within Google Maps.
Android Auto is one of the leading contenders for the new cars, and Google would love to get into our cars. They can tell where we traveled, where we stopped to shop, how many miles we go and even where we stop for gas. This is how Google makes most of their money, through advertising – Google can let their clients know our habits. By knowing what stores we frequently go to and shop, they know what coupons or discounts to send to our smartphones. Android Auto gives Google a way to ‘travel’ with us and by incorporating Waze into Android Auto, we can get there more efficiently.