For the first time since Google acquired Waze, Google Maps is using some of the acquired functionality. Real-time crowd-sourced traffic reports, which were the most popular feature on Waze, are showing up in Google Maps for Android and iOS.
Google acquired Waze in June but it was not until last month that Google revealed it had spent nearly $1 billion on the company. Although early reports suggested the acquisition went for $1.3 billion, it ended up still being $966 million. With that price it was apparent Google would use Waze in a significant way, and its Maps application made the most sense.
Waze allows users to quickly and easily inform others about an accident or some sort of incident affecting traffic. With Google Maps being one of the most popular GPS applications for smartphones, users in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Switzerland, U.K. and the U.S. will all be able to access real time crowd-sourced updates. More countries are expected to be added within the next month.
Although the two services are integrated in some ways now, people are still reporting accidents via the Waze application. It appears as though the companies decided to combine some of their features but also keep their independent stand-alone apps as well.
Right now there are 1 million accidents reported by Waze users each month, which has undoubtedly saved many people from becoming trapped in traffic jams. Google's decision to add in the real-time traffic updates first makes a lot of sense.
The only significant downside to the Waze integration in Google Maps is that some of the social features are missing. Normally, Waze users who report an accident get their usernames plastered everywhere, but on Google Maps, the accident shows up but does not include the usernames of those who reported the accident.
The Perfect Combination
Between the social features present in Waze and the extensive street view and business look-up features in Google Maps, the two services could create a perfect mapping application. At this point, between the real time accident reports and the already impressive Google Maps application, other GPS navigation apps and devices are becoming less necessary each month.
The acquisition is actually so perfect that the FTC has decided to get involved. Google revealed that the Federal Trade Commission was opening a file on the acquisition to see if it removes too much competition from the GPS app market.
Other companies are now trying to improve their own map applications in order to avoid being destroyed by the combined Google Maps and Waze. Apple has purchased HopStop to improve its default Maps app after deciding to ditch Google Maps last year in iOS 6.
Now that Google controls a large portion of the mapping industry, it is introducing new banner ads to monetize the service on iOS.