“Outsmarting traffic jams” is every commuter’s or driver’s fantasy, but technology that offers that promise is only useful if it supports one’s local roads. Luckily, Google is now making its new Waze-based feature available in 46 more countries, giving users of Google Maps a better chance to get home faster and safer.
In June this year, Google acquired Israeli startup Waze in order to add its much-coveted features to Google’s on Maps technology. Waze basically uses crowdsourcing, harnessing the power of mobile device users and social networking, to give real-time updates about traffic situations in different areas. This gives travelers faster, though probably sometimes less accurate, traffic information aside from official sources, especially in cases where such sources aren’t even available to the common people.
A month after the acquisition, Google rolled out an update to Google Maps that integrates Waze traffic information. This gave Google Maps users on Android access to accident reports, on-going construction, road closures, detours, and more, all gathered from Waze users. However, this extremely useful feature was limited in scope, available to 13 countries only, including the US, the UK, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Switzerland. Now, Google is stretching its coverage and is adding 46 more countries and territories all over the world.
At the moment, Google has not indicated which countries and territories have been added to the roster, but we’ll probably find out soon once the feature starts rolling out. Waze incident reports will be available to Google Maps on both desktop and mobile platforms, though Google does not say if the Maps app needs to be updated for the feature to appear.