When Google bought Waze, there was a profound hubbub among commuters who use the social app to find the best route to work, dodge accidents, and otherwise make the rest of us jealous that we’re still stuck on the Interstate, it was loudly wondered if the app was going to stay isolated, or if Google was going to pull the technology into Maps. Well, we’ve got an answer.
Essentially, Google Maps is getting all the best parts of Waze, without needing to download the app, while Waze users will get better maps.
First, the overhaul to Maps, which is actually probably the best news you’ll hear all day regarding a mapping application: Now Google Maps get user accident reports from Waze. You won’t see the user profile information, mind you; that stuff is still top secret unless you’re using Waze. But that’s really not the important part, for most people: Dodging an accident that can jam up traffic is what’s important.
Oh, yeah, Waze users also still get their points for reporting problems: That part isn’t changing either.
Waze, for its part, is finally surrendering to the obvious: Google search results will be added into the app alongside Foursquare and Yelp, so you can get the full experience of college kids whining that a restaurant charges $10 for an appetizer. Waze also gets Street View, which is probably going to help Wazers substantially, and also Google’s satellite maps.
The main question is: How long before Waze, which is popular on iOS and a prize Apple desperately wanted, is completely incorporated into Google Maps? It seems that the two are slowly merging, and honestly, Google Maps can always use more live data. But Wazers are understandably upset about Google stepping back from their promise to keep the app roaming free.
But, hey, better directions, either way.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.