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back to article Did Google's Waze gobble run rivals off the road? UK watchdog starts probe

Google's acquisition of free map app Waze has awoken Britain's competition watchdog, which today confirmed it was scrutinising the gobble. Israeli firm Waze Mobile was bought by Google in June this year for a rumoured $1bn. It gave the advertising goliath satnav-like software that, we're told, taps into the whereabouts of 50 …

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"The only Waze is ethics"

Thank you for that. First smile on an otherwise dull afternoon.

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Big Brother

Re: "The only Waze is ethics"

Should probably be "The only Waze is Bureaucracy".

Seriously, WTF? Monopoly in the mapping market?

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BB

Not relevant

An American company buys an Israeli company - the position of Britain's OFT is irrelevant.

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Thumb Down

Re: Not relevant

uh, sure it is relevant if the parties offer goods or services to UK customers.

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BB

Re: Not relevant

Not really, both are hosted outside Britain and the British just choose to use them. What will the OFT do, ban the services being used inside the UK?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not relevant

The purpose of a competition watchdog is to watch and bite only if there is a good reason for it. I am sure there are watchdogs in the wild west too. Fairly sure this watchdog will only watch for a while.

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JEM
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Micro$oft.

Sorry, just wanted to be the first to get that one in.

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Damnit, we don't care about monopoly within the maps area! We just want decent sat nav software!

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Devil

Too bad...

... that so many people are so tied up with their hatred for Microsoft that they can't see that it's happening all over again with Google... and so the cycle will continue.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Too bad...

Microsoft never claimed not to be evil though.

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Alternatives exist - what's the problem

No one is forced to use Waze, there are alternatives, some are free and some are not.

Also 50 Million is actually quite a small segment of the market, waze has no monopoly and even the product itself is in a niche market.

I do not know about anyone else but I personally use Waze for the Radar information, for which I can no longer "legally" use any of the alternatives on the market. ( French law sucks on this point).

I am sure that if someone had a better product, for the same price, then I would use it but at the moment there isn't. I have also have paid for mapping/routing software but it does not supply the radar alerts so I use Waze.....

Besides the Radar part the rest of the program is a bit "childish" and I have difficulty seeing how they are creating any kind of monopoly.

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Re: Alternatives exist - what's the problem

Its probably the fact that Google are already integrating it into Google Maps making it one product.

I'm on the fence about this on the one hand you technically have a near worlwide SatNav with street view and up to date traffic information. On the other hand this merger would create a monopoly as no other product does or could offer this level of integration for free and when a monopoly rises innovation dies.

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adverts already

I have been using Waze for a while, but over the weekend it popped up a notice about a nearby Nissan dealership and would I like to drive there. Time to start looking for alternatives...

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FAIL

Re: adverts already

I had exactly the same thoughts when I saw the same Nissan dealership advert. It actually put me off my driving.

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Re: adverts already

Apparently Ads have been around in Waze for quite a while before Google got involved but the Nissan ads have only been seen in the UK for a few weeks. I'm guessing it was part of the strategy to sell the company and prove a revenue stream.

Seem a bit pointless to me as I'm not going to suddenly drive to Nissan because of a pop-up but as 0.001% of people respond to spam you never know.

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Re: adverts already

At least it's asking if you would like to drive there, and not yet telling you that's where it's driving you.

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That explains it?

So that's why Google Maps and Navigation are now crap.

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First - Google were already collecting real-time road information from anyone running Google Maps - how else do you think they provided the traffic overlay for the last several years?

Second - TomTom are still a big competitor in the UK - and also collect the whereabouts, speed and direction of every TomTom user (who runs a TomTom unit with the traffic subscription via Sim Card)

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So if your Waze and Google accounts get merged, Google will be able to track your web searches and navigation/movements in a nice integrated way?

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"The only Waze is ethics"

Best. Tagline. Ever.

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