Google buys Waze in effort to outsmart traffic
Google announced on Tuesday that it had closed the acquisition of Waze.
So what's Waze and why is it worth mentioning? It's a four-year-old social GPS app from Israel that features turn-by-turn navigation, and Google bought it to help Google Maps users "outsmart traffic".
Google clarified its reasoning in a blog post on Tuesday: "We’ve all been there: stuck in traffic, frustrated that you chose the wrong route on the drive to work. But imagine if you could see real-time traffic updates from friends and fellow travellers ahead of you, calling out 'fender bender...totally stuck in left lane!' and showing faster routes that others are taking."
Google - in a nutshell - hopes Waze's "fast-growing community of traffic-obsessed drivers" will work together to find the best routes, and therefore potentially enhance Google Maps with better traffic update features.
The GPS app's product development team will stay put in Israel and operate separately for the time being, but they will also have the opportunity to use Google’s search capabilities to improve Waze.
Beyond why the internet giant claimed it bought Waze, the GPS app's vibrant user engagement, as well as its options to report accidents, road blocks, police presence, etc, will likely help Google Maps to add similar enticing features and encourage engagement.
In addition, by buying Waze, Google has essentially blocked competing services, such as the ever-improving Yahoo, from better their Maps offerings with Waze's technology.