Thursday, May 09, 2013

Waze


Reading this story prompted me to download Waze and check it out. We have a long drive coming up this weekend and I am looking forward to using it.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the density of social activity in my sleepy little neck of the woods. Like the author says "I didn't think enough people would take the time to enter information about things like traffic or speed traps into Waze to make it useful, but I was wrong."

There were nearly a hundred different reports on traffic, police, closure and more. I would not need to look at Yelp while driving, it comes integrated with a look-up for restaurants in your location or along your route. I love how well system has been augmented with social to create a product that packs so much usefulness in a very compact format. The possibilities for mashups are only limited by the imagination. From retailers being able to push real time offers to someone headed in the direction of their store, to making connections between people and people  or people and services that begin to make sense only when the two are in each other's vicinity. 

Instead for putting out an ad on Craigslist, a plumber may push out a notification of his availability and his current route and let those in need of his services, pick it up and connect in real time. There is something fascinating about the idea of making such deliberate connections and creating unexpected opportunities.

Per my earlier rant about Google's asinine decision to kill Reader, I am in complete agreement with the author's conclusion "There’s no sign that Google has shown an interest in acquiring Waze, but I think the company would be stupid not to at least consider trumping Facebook’s offer. It could wind up losing its way, and a bunch of mobile users to boot." It would be sad though if Facebook acquires Waze and turns it into something completely unrecognizable from its current, wonderful state or worse - kills it.

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