In 2013, Google bought social navigation company Waze, a service that helps users “outsmart traffic” with real-time updates. On Tuesday, we saw some of the fruits of this purchase via a new update to Google Maps, which includes a “faster route” navigation feature that Google says will help you, yes, outsmart traffic with real-time updates.
The new feature, available in the latest versions of the iOS and Android Google Maps apps, pops up during turn-by-turn navigation mode to alert you of a better route alternative if one appears. The information comes from up-to-the-second traffic data supplied by the Waze infrastructure. Maps will also tell you how much time it estimates you’ll save by rerouting.
Waze has brought the crowdsourcing concept to traffic and navigation by collecting driving times from its users, as well as accepting manually published reports of traffic jams and updates to roads or landmarks. Despite having been acquired by Google, Waze still operates as a stand-alone social navigation community and app of its own, and the company remains in Jerusalem.
Making good on its promise at the time of the $1 billion purchase, though, Google has been introducing the technology and social networking aspects of Waze into the Google Maps apps and services. Prior to Tuesday’s update, Maps added heavy-traffic alert functions and Google Street View open map editing to Waze last August.