From a recent article in Forbes, here are several reasons why Google’s acquisition of Waze will be a game changer.
- Waze’s community of users is key to helping Google achieve its next big goal: mapping how we move. Waze simply collects GPS data from its 50 million users. Anyone who drives with the Waze app turned on is passively providing data that the company can use to better understand not only the world that user is driving through, but their intent.
- Waze is one of only four major companies that built its own extensive maps of the world, the others being TomTom, Navteq and Google. “Just like search became the interface for monetization on the web, maps are going to be a big part of the monetization engine for mobile,” he said, “because that’s what you open when you’re going places.
- Waze grows organically every day. Wave’s Wikipedia-style structure of day-to-day contributors, who make up about 10% of users, and voluntary editors, who make up a tinier percent, allows it to chart new roads in new countries, and even include roadblocks and construction zones.
- Waze understands the intent of its users. “Now that I know where you drive, I can begin offering you deals, I can begin enhancing the experience.” When a Waze driver in the U.S. is stopped at a light or parked, they’ll often see a ad pop up for Taco Bell, Starbucks or AT&T. Nearly all Waze’s ads are based on location, cross referencing where the Wazer and advertiser are in a given moment. The Holy Grail here was cross referencing all of that GPS data with another component: the consumer’s destination, or intention. “If you’re driving to work it’s a different experience than if you’re driving to [the American department store] Macy’s,” said Bardin.