Who doesn’t know about GPS! Everyone, right! But if you’re directing to Google Maps you still lack some knowledge about Waze. For a short period, though, it was a competitor to Google Maps. Yes, you read it right. In 2006, an Israeli company developed it and this app captured the market with its interesting and innovative features. Today, in this article, we will discuss why is Waze called Waze. What are those features? Had it given a tough competition to Google Maps? And more.
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Why Is It Called Waze?
In 2006, Ehud Shabtai (an Israeli programmer) created Free Map Israel as a community project. Later, in 2008, Ehud with Amir Shinar and Uri Levine joined hands and founded the company ‘Waze’.
The name is nothing but a wordplay that sounds like ‘ways’ referred to multiple ways to reach a destination. It is the sole reason why is it called Waze.
What does it offer?
Waze begins as a community project and aimed at creating a database based on user-generated information. In simple words, the user can add information based on their travel experience. The information can be about roads, highways, the weather of a location, or reporting an accident on the app.
It is a kind of software that works mainly on the details offered by the users. But, it requires active users to keep the information updated. However, for events like traffic jams, it also relies on state agencies’ data.
Presently, the full map is available to 13 countries and the rest have uncompleted maps. It let its users be the master of it and they can use Waze Map Editor to update details of roads, landmarks, house numbers, and more. Users can edit maps or update any information whenever they want which is an essential feature of it.
In 2013, Waze was acquired by Google at $996 million. The acquisition in turn put forth a question after the Unites States FTC. However, it concluded that acquisition by Google is not a violation of competition law.
In 2017, Waze collaborated with Spotify. Thus, users can play music while navigating and later, it was upgraded to iOS devices.
In 2019, Waze added Siri shortcut support to its iOS users and in the same year, Google offered Google Assistance integration with Waze on Android phones.
Connected Citizens Program (CCP)
CCP was introduced in the year of 2014. Through the program, over 450 governments departments and municipalities can share and exchange data. In the same year, Rio de Janeiro also used it for its traffic management system.
However, this app has to face criticism for its features, and controversies happened due to that.
Criticism and Controversies
In 2014, a group of students tried to fake a traffic jam via this app and it was a successful attempt.
In Dec 2014, the Los Angeles Police department sent a complaint letter to Google saying that those who have ill intentions of creating violence can misuse the police locator feature.
Therefore, such incidents and claims made its use suspicious and put a question mark on its usage and control.
Why should you use it?
- It gathers data from users and puts it on the server. The data then can be updated by users and be more useful to others.
- Users can report an accident, traffic jams, over speed, and police traps. However, it relies more on state agencies for such data.
- Users can update landmarks, roads, and other details via the online map editor.
- It provides real-time alerts and voice navigation as well.
- It can help to find the cheapest petrol station in the nearby area.
Overall, it is a valuable app that had been a competitor of Google Maps for a short time. It also offers features that are both constructive yet critical in use.
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