“Google Maps and Waze, outsmarting traffic together”

American search giant Google has announced the acquisition of the community-based traffic/mapping application Waze.

The $1.3 billion dollar deal was announced via Google’s official blog, with the company saying they were excited to be aquiring a “fast-growing community of traffic-obsessed drivers is working together to find the best routes from home to work, every day.”

The company also said that they were excited by the prospect of enhancing Google Maps with some of the traffic update features provided by Waze and enhancing Waze with Google’s search capabilities.

What is waze?

Waze is traffic mapping service that lets drivers report on their surroundings in real-time.  This means that drivers can submit traffic updates, speed-camera locations, road closures etc as they happen.  

According to the companies website Waze tries to “accurately reflect the road system, state of traffic and all the information relevant to drivers at any given moment.”

An article on Yahoo.com suggests that as many as 50 million drivers in 190 countries are already using the Waze mapping app to avoid traffic jams and find the fastest way to their jobs and other destinations. The service figures out the most efficient routes by drawing upon real-time information shared by about 70,000 members who help edit the maps and even provide other helpful tips. 

Other features let users follow the location of friends who are on-route to a common destination, and to send ‘pick-up’ requests with their exact location.