Google has integrated Waze community-reported, real-time traffic reports into the mobile versions of Google Maps, just two months after Google acquired Waze in June 2013.
“No one likes getting stuck in traffic. That’s why the Waze and Google Maps teams are working together to harness the power of Google technology and the passion of the Waze community to make it easier to navigate your daily life,” wrote Brian McClendon, vice president of Google Maps, in an Aug. 20 post on the Google Lat Long Blog.
“Users of Google Maps for Mobile will now benefit from real time incident reports from Waze users,” McClendon continued. “This means when Wazers [as Waze users are affectionately known] report accidents, construction, road closures and more on Waze, the updates will also appear on the Google Maps app for Android and iOS in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Switzerland, U.K. and the U.S.”
As part of the integration of the two products, Waze users will also gain new features through the latest updates, including the availability of built-in Google Search in the Android and iOS versions of the app, according to McClendon’s post. “Wazers will now have access to even more search results when navigating,” he wrote. The search functions can help users find more information about their destination using Waze and Google Maps mobile apps.
“In addition, after a successful beta test, the Waze Map Editor now includes Google Street View and satellite imagery to build out the map and make it easier to correct map errors reported by the community,” wrote McClendon. “We’re excited about today’s updates and will continue to bring together the best of Google Maps and Waze.”
Google acquired Waze, a crowd-based traffic and navigation app for mobile devices, on June 11 to help expand its mapping services for users. Google paid about $1.3 billion to purchase the Israeli community-based traffic and navigation app startup.
Google’s discussions with Waze began after previous talks between Waze and Facebook failed to reach a similar agreement, according to the earlier reports. Those discussions came after yet another rumored deal arose in late 2012 when Apple purportedly was about to purchase Waze. At the time, the rumors called for Apple to acquire Waze to bolster its own mapping services, which had suffered after Apple tried to build a Google Maps replacement for its iOS 6 operating system in September 2012.
Waze is a mobile navigation app for iPhones and Google Android devices that allows drivers to build and use live maps, real-time traffic updates and turn-by-turn navigation. Waze works by allowing users to crowd-source their commutes and other drives using the app to report traffic jams, accidents and other traffic details along the way. Waze is free for users, which has contributed to its popularity.
After the Oklahoma tornadoes and Interstate 5 bridge collapse in Washington state in May 2013, Waze crowd-sourcing was used to help drivers in those areas avoid the major traffic jams created by the disasters, according to the Waze Blog.
In July, Google Maps unveiled a new maps layer for developers so that they can better integrate their data with images in Google Maps. The innovative DynamicMapsEngineLayer gives developers the ability to perform client-side rendering of vector data, allowing them to dynamically restyle the vector layer in response to user interactions like hovering and clicking. The new maps layer makes it easier for developers to visualize and interact with data hosted in Google Maps Engine.