Despite owning the most popular mapping app in the world, Google acquired Waze for almost a billion dollars in 2013. Google did not shut down the app as many had feared, but it has slowly integrated Waze’s crowdsourced driving features into Google Maps. Google is adding a raft of new features to Maps today, all of which are making their way over from Waze. Mobile users will be able to report new road conditions like lane closures and construction, but it’ll take a few taps.
Waze’s selling point has always been the way it integrates data from other drivers. At the time of the Google acquisition, Google Maps had none of that. Since then, Maps has picked up features like checking nearby gas prices, speed trap reporting, and traffic slowdown alerts. Waze even contributed features we now take for granted like adding stops along your route while navigating.
The latest updates add to the Waze features that have already come to Maps. Starting now, drivers using Google Maps will be able to add reports for road construction, lane closures, disabled vehicles, and objects in the road. To add a report, tap the “plus bubble” icon in the Maps navigation interface. That pulls up a dashboard of possible reports, including all the new options. When you tap one, it’s attached to your current location and appears for other drivers.
Ideally, there would be someone else in the car who can tap buttons on your phone. Google has a very small warning on the pop-up that you should only add reports if it’s safe to do so. Although, in some places, it’s illegal to even touch your phone while driving.
While Google Maps has become a much more interconnected product since the Waze acquisition, there are still plenty of features exclusive to the smaller app. For example, Waze has a carpooling service, and it connects to Facebook for event navigation. Meanwhile, Google integrates more data from your Google account and local businesses. Waze will probably continue to exist as a testing ground for mapping features that eventually come to the company’s flagship mapping product, but some people will never give up their Waze.
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