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All posts tagged Waze

Startups By Their Nature Are On The Cutting Edge…

… Some get acquired and in my previous post I mentioned Waze and their acquisition by Google. I suggested that Google could leverage drone technology to enhance the real-time geo-data provided by Waze.

This led to a fascinating conversation on Twitter with one of my favorite tweeps
@AWSOMEDEVSIGNER on the controversy and challenges related to drone usage in the civilian domain.


Real World Tech, Real World Consequences

When people create new technologies or find new uses for existing tech, especially in our daily lives in the real world there is a question that has to be asked,

What are the ramifications of releasing our idea into the world unfettered?

In a lot of cases the legislature is not able to keep up with the need for new laws to address these issues. Google Glass is a classic example, should it be legal to drive whilst wearing and using Glass? Should the law require all wearable technology that requires user interaction (read distraction) to have a Driving Mode?

In the case of Glass a user in California was already issued with a ticket for driving whilst wearing Glass (the ticket was allegedly contested and thrown out on a technicality) meanwhile, NYPD are beta testing Glass , but under what constraints and conditions?

A hat tip to the awesome @OrenTodoros for directing me to Google’s Do’s and Don’ts for Glass.

In some cases just how easily can certain innovations be weaponized or used for malicious intent? Foursquare had to contend with privacy and stalking concerns and seems to have done so admirably.

You don’t have to look hard to see that cutting edge technology will always be ahead of legislation. Several TV shows have made the issue of technology and ethics a core part off their story e.g. Intelligence or Almost Human.

Intelligence - Startup Ethics
Almost Human - Startup Ethics

With thanks to IMDB for the images for each show above.

The Warptest POV

Do the Startups have a moral responsibility to consider the ramifications of their innovations before opening Pandora’s Box? Will a failure to do so eventually result in more draconian legislation in reaction? As a result of my conversations (as mentioned earlier) IMHO Startups should be considering then need for a senior member of the company, even a VP of Ethics to research these ramifications and raise concerns early in the design stages.

By working with the Product Manager, even guiding the Testing team to include tests to ensure not just functional but ethical quality a Startup that is launching a technology into the real world and our daily life is more likely to find best practice and prevent privacy invasions, data leaks, malicious abuses and other ethical problems.

So if you are reading this and you are building a Startup, do you have role in your company to confront the ethics behind your innovation?

Don’t be shy now, let me know what you think.


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.

Waze plus Google Maps

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.

A map on my wall at home - not Waze

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.

retro lensatic compass - not Waze

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: –

  1. 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.

Google Glass - Will it use Waze

2 From the official Google Glass site

  1. 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.

Boston Robotics - Can it help Waze

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.

One thing is certain, the potential for adding real-time data is already exists in other projects at Google. When do you think we will see this as a Waze feature?

facebook home

Facebook was in the news again…

Yesterday Facebook was featured in two major stories:

Firstly the blogosphere went wild over the news that they are once again in advanced negotiations for the purchase of Israeli social traffic navigation startup Waze.

Waze Splash Screen

Secondly they announced new features being added to Facebook Home on Android and hitting 1 million downloads.

Yes there is a connection…

It hasn’t taken that long a time for Facebook Home to get to their 1 million downloads but not everyone is pleased to have Facebook takeover the start screen of their Smartphone. For those not clued in Facebook Home is just that, a Facebook Start Screen when you turn on your Smartphone. Right now it’s on Android and Microsoft were fast to point out that Windows Phone did this from the get-go anyhow.

Facebook Home Dev Blog

If they manages to acquire Waze they have an incredible and much needed popular App with a huge user base to build into the next iteration of Facebook Home.

The Missing Link

To truly realize the ROI of buying Waze it can’t just sit there; there needs to be some degree of intelligent automated behavior. Facebook Home needs to react to environmental changes in the physical world around the phone.


Zuck and team should be taking a long, hard look at Israeli Startup IFTTT who wrote the rulebook on this for web applications and Microsoft (specifically the Israel R&D division) who released an Android App called on{X} last year. This is a rule based App that detects a condition and responds with the appropriate rule running.

Faceb ook Home Secret Sauce

In Facebook Home’s case what’s needed would be something like this use case:

If Accelerometer or GPS detect motion > footspeed then activate Waze from Facebook Home.

Warptest POV

Whatever the truth is about Facebook acquiring Waze, I definitely wish Waze good luck and hope that Facebook realize that simply trying to dominate the Start Screen real estate on Smartphones is not a mobile strategy. It’s firing the first salvo.

What do you think Facebook will do on mobile next?