Google has announced today that Waze, the Google-owned social driving app, is going to be an option for pre-installed software on Android phones (via TechCrunch). The app is now part of Google Mobile Services, a selection of software that Google allows OEMs and carriers to include in their devices.
Google incorporates much data from Waze in its own Google Maps application, another app that’s part of the Google Mobile Services bundle. Other apps that OEMs and carriers have the option to pre-install include many of the most familiar Google apps, like Chrome, Gmail, Hangouts, and Google Drive.
For those not familiar, the Waze app is pretty unique when it comes to mapping applications. Unlike offerings such as Google’s own Maps app, Waze has a large user base that actually shares various road hazard information like accidents, environmental hazards, and other tidbits. If you’ve seen “via Waze app” in Maps, these users are to thank.
Waze definitely has a loyal user base, but with Google putting much of the app’s most valuable information (like accident reporting) straight into the official Maps client, it would make sense that some users would no longer have a need for Waze (like me). Today’s move is interesting, because it means Google wants those sharing this data to keep doing so—with Waze.
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