Feature Article

May 16, 2013

Waze App Crowdsources Drivers to Provide Best Road Conditions and Routes

Every day, your commute home from work is like a game of construction roulette. The highway department claims to have a schedule, but from your perspective, it's all random.

You won't know whether or not they're doing road work until you come up behind a slew of parked cars with illuminated brake lights. These lights, better known to commuters as the "Red Death," tell you that you're in for a long ride home.

Instead of wondering whether or not to consider an alternate route, download the Waze app and run it during your commute. Waze is a navigation app, but it's also much more. On top of getting directions to your destination, you also get real-time traffic updates from other Wazers. If someone ahead of you sees construction, they'll warn you.

Waze will give you information about construction, as well as a heads-up about police presence on the roadway. Fellow Wazers will tell you whether the police car is visible or hidden so that you don't decide to floor it just because you can't see the squad car. You'll also get instant alerts about traffic, accidents and other road hazards

Of course, sometimes you're driving down the interstate and trying to decide where to grab some dinner. Waze offers instant coupons or information about deals that are near your route. You can also find out where the closest gas stations are and get regular price updates, which allow you to fill up on the cheap.

All of this happens hands-free thanks to Waze's voice activation capability. In the settings menu, you can enable voice activation by either waving, holding up fingers or tapping the screen. Waze tells you exactly which voice commands to use for which functions.

According to rumors, Facebook is in talks to acquire Waze for as much as $1 billion. Waze is an Israeli startup with over 45 million global users and 12 million U.S. users, and its revenue comes from mobile advertising, an area Facebook is desperate to commandeer.

The only downside for Facebook could be its new competitive position. Integrating Waze into Facebook would put the social media giant in direct competition with Google Maps, Apple Maps and Bing Maps. Right now, Facebook uses Microsoft's Bing Maps, and analysts have no idea how a spurned Microsoft may react.

According to Israeli newspaper Calcalist, Facebook and Waze talks have bogged down because Facebook wants to move Waze employees to the U.S. Waze CEO Noam Bardin and his employees would prefer keep R&D in Israel and to not move employees to Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Stay tuned to MobilityTechzone for the latest acquisition developments.

In the meantime, download Waze from the App Store or from Google Play.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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