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It was just announced that Google bought the social mapping application Waze for 1.3 billion dollars. This is big news in the world of mapping. Anything involving Google buying a competitive product like this is interesting for multiple reasons. Here are my top 5 reasons why I think Google bought Waze.
- Minimize the competitive threat. Waze was growing like wildfire due to all the really interesting capabilities of the application. Integrating live data created from actual drivers/passengers from cars around you gives a lot more information than a GPS and timestamp can. Google doesn’t want a competitor to have a better product so instead of building from the ground up and still having to compete against Waze, just purchase them and gain the technology, the customers, and minimize the threat all at once.
- New sets of live data for their autonomous car software. Information is key when building an autonomous vehicle. Currently they have traffic inputs including GPS locations and time-stamps of vehicles around them but integrating another set of information that is manually input about the conditions that can’t be described otherwise gives their autonomous vehicle software a significant advantage over competitors. Instead of trying to build this data-stream from the ground up, they are tapping into a solid base of regularly updated information. This in my opinion is the most exciting. I can’t wait to get my first driver-less car.
- Google + Integration: Google has been slowly building their social platform up over the years. Having another plug into a social medium/channel that people are using and is growing will allow them to continue to build the value proposition of their social platform. Google’s social platform is slowly getting more and more attractive while Facebook is slowly getting more and more boring.
- Ad Revenue: With all Google products and moves, it’s all about the ad revenue. More subscribers equals more reach, more impressions, more advertising opportunities and provides their existing advertising customers with new and innovative ways to reach their audiences.
- Better user experience: When it comes down to it, Google always strives to create a better user experience across their products/services. Giving drivers more information about their travel plans including road hazards, police stops, broke down vehicles, caution areas, etc… provides a better user experience. One of Google’s goals is to embed itself into the lives of as many people as possible which increases a users reliance on them and can secure their long term business model.