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MENDOZA IN THE NEWS

Waze could drive better social tools at Google, experts say

by Zach Miners
Publication: IDG News Service

June 10, 2013


Waze's crowdsourced traffic and navigation app is attractive to Google, which is said to be a serious suitor for the app, because of the wealth of mapping data it offers. But Waze's biggest draw may be social, some experts say.

The eponymous mobile app is designed to offer "smarter," real-time navigation by letting users share road reports on accidents, police check points or other hazards along any given route. The idea is to give other users in the area a "heads-up" about what's to come on the road, says Waze, which claims to have 30 million people using its app, on its website -- a number that is boosted to 50 million at the Google Play store.

Waze also lets users create and join groups that allow members to view each other on a map and communicate with one another while on the road.

Google is reportedly close to finalizing a deal to acquire the company for US$1.3 billion.

If Google ends up making the buy, Waze's "social sharing" business model, and the technology supporting it, could help to boost Google's own social networking services, some observers say.

"Social is the unique thing about Waze," said management instructor Brian Proffitt, who teaches at the University of Notre Dames Mendoza College of Business.

"Google is not very strong in social right now. They can't seem to get Google+ going," which right now functions more as a forum for early adopters and techies, he said.

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