Google’s acquisition of Waze

I am worried about what Google will do to Waze. Waze involves users directly. Google does not like direct user input. Google likes crunching gobs of data on user behavior. Google trusts aggregate data more than people. While that might allow Google to correctly guess what I meant to search for (because 99% of the time, other people made the same typo), it may actually degrade route calculation. Google calculates the best route from A to B based on speed, distance and traffic. Plus Google knows that 99% of people take that route even if it is not the best route. But, 1% of people know a faster/easier route (and that benefits the 1%). Will Google allow that 1% to override the 99%? Waze has learned my shortcuts (that are consistently faster than Google’s or Waze’s calculated routes) and now presents them as the default route.

Related, Waze allows normal people to instantly alert others of an accident, construction, etc. Google relies on public sources like Caltrans, CHP etc, which are once removed from the source data. A minor accident which causes a major local backup but is never reported to CHP would not show up in Google Navigation, but could in Waze. Google may show the reduced speed but not the cause.  How will Google integrate Waze’s crowd-sourced data?

Update 20130614: @TechCrunch With Waze, Google Gets Access To Social Mapping Data — And Possible Patent Legal Heat From Nokia

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