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MWC: Israeli startup Waze reveals what life is like under the Google umbrella

Sam Shead | March 6, 2015
This week Google added Waze to the Google Mobile Services package so handset manufacturers can preinstall the navigation app on their Android devices before selling them to customers.

Waze, available as a web and mobile app, relies on crowdsourced traffic data, which it obtains automatically when people drive around with the app open. This means that Waze collects data from its community of travellers to inform other users of the best route to take in order to get from A-to-B most efficiently.

If Waze comes preinstalled on Android devices then it's likely that it will be seen by a larger audience and its journey planner should become even more intelligent as a result.

Google is also using Waze traffic insights in Google Maps. Indeed, shortly after the acquisition, Google integrated the apps' incident reports directly into Maps.

Waze isn't really considered to be a Google Maps competitor. Instead, it's more of an alternative for users looking for a light, traffic-focused app that has unique route-sharing capabilities.

Android handset manufacturers can decide to only preinstall Maps if they choose, but it's likely that some will add Waze onto their devices as well.

Google and Waze are competing with a number of fast-growing navigation apps, including Citymapper in London, which received $10 million (£6.5 million) from the investors behind Airbnb and LoveFilm last April, and Moovit, another Israeli firm that just bagged $50 million (£33 million).

 

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