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Streetmap loses appeal against Google Maps dominance judgement

ChrisC

Going slightly off-topic here, but as Waze is something I have a particular interest in...

The Google buy-out of Waze was done in a way that maintained an arms-length seperation between the two companies. Other than the occasional traffic/incident alert appearing in Google Maps tagged with Waze as its source, and the slightly better integration of some Google products within the Waze environment, the two pretty much run independently of one another.

So yes, Google generate their own realtime traffic flow data via a combination of third party feeds where available, plus the location data returned from Android phones where such data hasn't been switched off by the user - its this latter data which gives Google Maps such good quality traffic flow data on side roads where the likes of Trafficmaster et al pay no attention.

However, Waze do pretty much the exact same thing. Every phone running the Waze app is sending back realtime data to the Waze servers, allowing them to build up the same sort of dynamic traffic flow picture as Google have. The main difference between Waze and Google here is that in the Waze app, traffic is generally only highlighted if it's moving slower than usual for that section of road at that time of day, so if Waze is showing no traffic highlights it doesn't mean the road ahead is clear, it only means the road ahead is flowing at least as well as Waze knows it usually flows. It could be completely stationary, but if that's normal for the time of day then it won't warrant a highlight...

Not the most human-friendly bit of UI design (something I've mentioned to the Waze devs on more than one occasion over the years), but from the perspective of the routing algorithms it does make sense, and if you're using Waze as the devs intend it to be used (i.e. always following a suggested route) then you do start to learn to trust that it's already taken all of the traffic it's aware of into account when deciding which route to offer you, and that if it still ends up directing you into the mother and father of all jams that wasn't shown onscreen then it's more likely that it really was the least worst option available, as opposed to it doing so because it really had no idea the jam was there.

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