Waze Is As Near To Ubiquitous…
… As any mobile app is going to get. Certainly in the day-to-day real world arena.
The acquisition by Google last year was a welcome move for anyone who is a frequent visitor / user of Google Maps.
The addition of Waze Social Traffic reporting geo-data layer makes Google Maps into probably the best application in its field.
Do I Like Maps?
You might have guessed it or read it in other posts here that I have a background in Geography, Cartography, GIS and testing Location Based Apps. Maps are also something of a passion for me.
1 A map hanging at home on the wall
Several years ago I was put in the position of having to explain to a roomful of engineers how GPS works and the underlying principles behind map coordinate systems. At the end of my talk (which I sweated bullets over for several days prior to giving the talk) an engineer came over to me and thanked me for making the subject come alive for him.
Just the other day I was cleaning out a drawer and found my Lensatic compass and cartography pens; I don’t have much call to use them but I cleaned them off for sentimental reasons.
So yes, you might say I love maps and all things related.
Where Does Google Come In?
So here we have a vertical teeming with action: Microsoft investing in Foursquare, Yahoo licensing data from Yelp, Google adding Waze geo-data to its own. In addition to exposing more users to Waze data through Google Maps what else is Google bringing to the pot?
- Android and iOS apps have built in Google Search
- Waze Map Editor incorporates Street View and Satellite imagery as of August 20, 2013.
Google clearly have given some thought to the ensuring added value in both directions. Waze as an app and Google Maps both benefit here.
The Warptest POV
Two main areas of Google’s endeavors struck me as adding value here: –
- Google Glass: the official site shows that Glass has some form of Google Maps but does/will this incorporate Waze? More to the point is driving wearing Glass going to come under legislative scrutiny with a ticket already issued in California for one Glass wearer but at the same time NYPD testing how they can incorporate it into law enforcement.
2 From the official Google Glass site
- Autonomous Robots: Google has been investing in the autonomous car for some time, in addition in 2013 they bought Boston Dynamics famous for their advances in (somewhat eerie) robotics but perhaps the most interesting area might be in taking a leaf from Amazon’s announced desire to use drones and add this to Google Maps / Waze.
The primary use case for this would be either to have aerial drones full-time over high traffic congestion zones providing users with real-time aerial photography or drones could be triggered by reports of a road accident to arrive on-scene and provide the same real time data. Obviously like Amazon this will be subject to FAA approval but perhaps ground level real-time imagery via Boston Dynamics robotic creations is an interim measure.
Is there a scenario where the autonomous cars will react to Waze reports? Something to consider.
Meanwhile, concept cars like the Renault Kwid with its own onboard aerial drone are going to have to think about what happens when a bunch of Kwids have drones in the air in the same locale.