Rumour has it that tech companies are lining up to buy Waze, a widely used traffic navigation application that provides crowdsourced information on traffic. Its users can also report hazardous road conditions or traffic jams, providing real-time information to others. The app also shows alternative roads for users’ convenience.
The possible purchasers include key players such as Facebook, iPhone maker Apple and search giant Google. Why is everyone so interested in Waze?
“What a lot of people don’t know about Waze is on the front end, we’re an app, but we are also making our own maps. This is something very few people can do,” said Di-Ann Eisnor, Vice President for Platforms and Partnerships at Waze.
She went on to explain that the two firms that are ahead of the curve in real-time mapping are Google and Waze, so it comes as no surprise that the search giant is one of the firms vying to acquire Waze. While Eisnor refused to comment on the acquisition rumours, she pointed out that the start-up’s perceived value stems from the fact that it obtains so much information from its 50 million users.
Apple’s failed map application also enhanced the start-up’s popularity. In fact, CEO Tim Cook suggested Waze instead of Apple’s iOS6 mapping app due to the latter’s inaccuracies.
“It ended up really in our favour. Tim Cook came out, apologised for Apple maps and then recommended the use of Waze… for a start-up, this is incredible. But what happened was it highlighted how difficult it is to make maps,” added Eisnor.