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back to article The only Waze is Google: Ad giant tipped to gobble map app 'for $1.3bn'

Crowd-sourced map app maker Waze has apparently accepted a billion-dollar buyout from Google - ending months of speculation about who was going to end up with the Israeli firm. Apple and Facebook have both been sniffing around Waze, which draws upon the movements of its 50 million users to generate live traffic information and …

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Big Brother

What's in it for Google?

They get even more information about people. Not just what they do when they get to places (e.g. using search to find stuff) but also which routes they take, who they interact with, etc.

And at the same time they get all that lovely real-time data that people willingly feed in, not just speed/accident data but fuel price & speed camera data sets can both be sold on...

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I like Waze

Interesting...

I like Waze, it has worked better than most other satnavs I've tried, with the added bonus of being able to fix any local errors yourself.

They've gone to considerable lengths to avoid problems with people copying in details from any other mapping suppliers, so having free and official access to the Google maps and aerial photos should help quite a lot. Searching for places should hopefully improve as well - at the moment I believe it uses Bing and it's a bit hit and miss!

I hope they use a light touch to keep the social aspects going, which are a major differentiator for Waze - although the recent Facebook integration stuff (e.g. 'take me to <facebook event>') will presumably slow down a bit now ;-)

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Alert

Offensive or defensive move?

I.e. is Google trying to make its own product better, or just trying to keep others from making their product better?

I don't want to sound too cynical, but I am not sure what Google is hoping to get out of Waze (though Waze can undoubtedly benefit a lot from Google).

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Not strictly accurate

"Waze offers nothing more than the text messages sent by people stuck in traffic to local radio stations for the DJs to read out"

That's not quite right - by capturing the data about the current speed at which a Waze user is travelling on a road it can display that as accurate realtime travel speed for others. Waze users do have the option of reporting a holdup but that's not required for Waze to collect beneficial data.

I've found it to be very accurate at reporting what speed I can expect to do on a particular rush-hour road.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not strictly accurate

"by capturing the data about the current speed at which a Waze user is travelling on a road it can display that as accurate realtime travel speed for others"

How's that different to Google Maps real time traffic data, based on the movement of Android handsets?

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Re: Not strictly accurate

Indeed, I always liked Waze but found that even in the South East of England there weren't enough users to give an absolutely useful speed prediction (this may have improved it's been over a year since the App would run on my ancient original HTC Desire). I always thought if Google could get hold of it and thus increase the data sampled it would be great!

My other problem with Waze, though, was that they didn't seem to use the traffic speed they clearly knew about in real-time route planning. I often hit traffic only to find that Waze knew full-well that it was there and had done for some time... but it didn't even try to re-route me.

More users giving data and a bit of tweaking and this could make Maps/Waze a truly brilliant app.

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Re: Not strictly accurate

I've been using Waze for nearly two and a half years now for a daily commute along the A27 (South Coast) from near Chichester to Lewes (about 1 hour) and the accuracy of realtime reporting has come a long way in that time as more users have taken up the app. Waze has been really useful in alerting me to problems ahead (and confirming that Worthing needs a f**&^!! bypass!) and I have been happy to return the favour with my own reporting and map editing.

That said, I'm just about to start a new job much closer to home (7 mins on a train and a 5 min walk each end!), so I'll miss my daily Waze reporting stint.

Better Google that Facebook IMHO - but it remains to be seen what happens next.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not strictly accurate

"How's that different to Google Maps real time traffic data, based on the movement of Android handsets?"

Their real-time traffic data might be solid but they don't seem to use it effectively, at least in my area (Seattle).

I use both Waze and Google Maps pretty frequently. Waze will often choose different routes to avoid traffic but Google almost always picks the same route.

Waze's algorithms are MUCH more accurate about how long it takes to get places. I have never seen Google's "in current traffic" trip times differ meaningfully from their regular trip times. I have seen Waze correctly account for a 45+ minute traffic jam whereas Google optimistically thinks it's only 5-10 minutes.

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Bronze badge
FAIL

Google trying really hard to make me LOG IN

Using Google Maps app, have you noticed how it refuses to remember recently used destinations or favorite search terms unless you log in? Strange, I thought that apps could be build to remember preferences.

And I have no intention to remain logged into Google all day as I don't want all my searches tracked when in a browser using Google in a way that is cookie-independent. And I don't want my searches paired with my Gmail content profile.

So I felt rather smug about Waze which helpfully remembers my preferences like a proper app should.

Now Google comes along to swallow it... and I can guess we'll be forced to log into Google to get the same functionality in future, and probably be forced to use Google+ too for the social bit.

Looks like I'm going to needs multiple Google alter ego IDs in the future.

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Happy

Re: Google trying really hard to make me LOG IN

I closed my google and MS accounts today. I don't fancy being spied on by GCHQ. The world didn't end!

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Stop

I like Waze, so I am not excited about Google hoovering them up.

All I have to say really. We'll see if Google forces us to log in to use Waze now....

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WTF?

Indeed

I'll certainly be deleting my Waze account if this happens.

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Re: Indeed

Why? Waze makes you log in at the moment anyway

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Re: Indeed

In my iPhone app of Waze I'm temp user and since I did not want to connect to any social networks, I'm not logged into anything. But Waze remembers my Home, Work locations etc.

Even if I did have to log in, the key thing is, the account would be totally separate from Google - exactly as I like it.

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FAIL

Can't Google, Apple, Facebook and the rest keep their grubby mitts off anything?

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