The big question at the time was what exactly Google planned to do with Waze, which relies on user input to help other drivers skirt congestion, construction, traffic jams, and other roadblocks. Now we have an answer, of sorts: Google will integrate real-time data from Waze into its Google Maps iOS and Android apps.
In practical terms, this means that when you update to the latest version of the Google Maps app, you'll be able to toggle to a view that shows any problems on or around your chosen route (see photo at left).
Meanwhile, the Waze app will add Street View to its map editor, allowing users to more accurately pinpoint problems with the software.
In the past, writes Waze CEO Noam Bardin wrote in a blog post, providing feedback was often a tricky proposition.
"At times like these, more visual tools like Street View and aerial imagery will be invaluable to not only fix the problem," Mr. Bardin writes, "but identify what the issue was in the first place. It can also help to fill in house numbers, street names, turn restrictions, and other missing data."
The new features are live as of this week.
So what will the next few months look like for Waze and Google? Well, over at TechCrunch, Darrell Etherington has some ideas.
Today's announcement, he writes, "gives us a big clue about how Google is viewing Waze: it’s not going to toss the two products into a melting pot and come out with a single hybrid – it’s treating Waze almost like a community-sourced product development arm of the Maps project. So long as it also continues providing useful updates to the Waze app and its users, that could be a strategy that serves it very well in terms of providing better-informed Maps data for the general public."