Apple Rumored to Be Considering Buying Mapping Startup Waze

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Rumors are circulating today that Apple is considering buying social mapping startup Waze to help boost its beleaguered Maps app and team. This isn’t the first time we’ve had rumors of Apple buying an established maps company, with rumors of TomTom being in Apple’s sights circulating in December.

Today’s rumor via TechCrunch also makes sense, though I think TomTom might have a better data set than Waze:

By contrast, Waze’s international use has been growing because it is genuinely useful, especially in places where Maps remain a problem, such as in Asia and the Middle East. Because Waze maps are built on the location of moving cars, it’s far more accurate than check-in apps. Outside of Google’s project to map cities with Streetview cars – something which has taken years to complete – and the real-world mapping undertaken by volunteers on the Open Streetmaps open source project, there has been little to match Waze’s approach. Waze turned mapping into not only a game, but also a way for drivers to be social, reporting road obstacles, traffic and police traps. It is properly useful.

Unlike rumors of pulling in (or outright buying) Foursquare, TechCrunch makes the point that Waze has the data chops outside of the U.S., whereas Foursquare hasn’t quite caught on beyond North America and could be considered to be on its way out.

Having used Waze in the past to navigate, I think while the app might not help Apple too much, the data and team at Waze is certainly the more valuable asset (as is often the case). Rene Ritchie of iMore just tweeted this (presumedly) tongue-in-cheek response to the news:

Maps is certainly getting better and I’ve found that I prefer it over Google Maps for many things, so adding in social features and data via Waze could be a good step in the right direction.

Via: TechCrunch

TechCrunch is saying now that there isn’t a deal in the works, and probably never was really to begin with.

  • Alan

    That would be a good move! Competition between a better Maps app and Google Maps would be good for us as users.

  • http://www.facebook.com/adam.n.butterick Adam Neil Butterick

    I personally love the Chomp purchase and what it did for the App Store. No longer do we have to type in the EXACT name of an app to find what we are looking for. A simple set of close matches appears and you can say “Oh yeah, that’s the one I am looking for” (because you recognize the App icon you saw on a friends iPhone rather than knowing the name of the App perfectly). Also launching a downloaded App from the App Store wasn’t necessarily something I longed for, but it is a spoiling new touch that makes me like my iPhone experience that much more. Buying Waze and integrating it would be amazing. I love Waze, but do like using Siri (which always defaults to the stock Maps App and there isn’t a way to make Siri handshake with Waze when I say “take me to a pizza place” when I am in the middle of an unfamiliar city. I also haven’t had any trouble with the Maps App from day one. Albeit I do live in a medium sized city, and it probably shows its flaws in larger more congested areas. You have to remember 99% of the time people are tagging the Siri servers with requests leaving the Android user with a wide open path to their navigation. Apple is obsessed with perfection and when they screw up, they generally are equally as obsessed with fixing it.

    • wifiuk

      yes there is, say navigate to xyz street VIA TRANSIT and then you can choose.

  • Luis

    Sounds good to me. I love waze!