Google No Longer Needs Waze

Waze is for many the everyday navigation app, as it helps drivers avoid traffic jams, find faster routes, and get more information on their routes, all using the power of reports submitted by users around them.

In just a few words, here’s how Waze works.

Pretty much like any other navigation app, Waze allows you to configure a destination and then get turn-by-turn navigation information right on the phone’s screen or on the car’s display if the app runs on Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.

The traditional feature lineup of a navigation app is available in Waze as well, so you get voice navigation, multi-language support, toll passes, speedometers and so much more. But the star of the show is the system that relies on user reports for traffic data, so other drivers can report traffic jams, speed traps, construction zones, and other road hazards.

As a community-drive GPS navigation app, Waze has become a rather accurate way of estimating the driving time from one point to another, all because it uses real-time information from other drivers.

Back in 2013, Google announced an acquisition which at that point was surprising, but which makes less sense today. Google purchased Waze in June 2013 for $966 million and since then, the search giant has been on a constant rush to move the essential features to Google Maps.

While this has long been considered the living proof that Google wanted to retire Waze and focus exclusively on Google Maps, the search giant also improved its traffic navigation app, suggesting that it wants to maintain both apps in the long term.

More recently, however, Google updated Google Maps with the feature that set Waze apart: the community-drive system that allows users to send reports and help the app calculate faster routers based on traffic info.

Available on Android and iOS right now, the new feature enabled Google Maps users to send reports for car crashes, mobile speed cameras, congestion, roadworks, lane closures, disabled vehicles, and objects on road. All based on an approach that is very similar to the one in Waze, with a simple report button in the main UI that then lets you pick the type of report that you want to send.

At this point, the differences between Waze and Google Maps are so small that many believe it’s all just a matter of time until one of them gets the ax. And we all know that Google Maps won’t be the one being pulled, so I wouldn’t necessarily be surprised if Waze is retired anytime soon.

Once again, however, Google has sent mixed signals on its plans for Google Maps and Waze. While it’s pretty clear that Google Maps is here in the long run, Waze should undoubtedly go, especially now that all its features are already available in Google’s flagship navigation app. And yet, earlier this year Google announced support for Google Assistant integration in Waze, as well as YouTube music support, and Siri Shortcuts on iOS.

On the other hand, most of the updates that Waze received recently…

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