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Social Directions From Waze

12/08/2010

 

Social GPS is Cool!

Social networks help Web users choose the best place for sushi, which songs to listen to and which news articles to read. Why not let social feedback influence which routes they drive?

 

Waze, a mapping application that combines turn-by-turn directions with information about current traffic and road conditions, aims to give GPS a social boost.

For anyone who has tried Google Maps or Mapquest and found the routes cumbersome or inaccurate Waze is the answer.

Since it was introduced in May. There are now 2.2 million registered users, and the average user spends 300 minutes a month using the application, said CEO Noam Bardin.

Mr. Bardin said, he hopes that Waze can show those users local deals, coupons and other helpful information on those routes, and says the company has several partnerships to announce along those lines in the coming months…sort of Groupon meets Mapquest.

It’s also part of the company’s future business model, he said, which could rely heavily on location-based ads. Waze is available for free on the iPhone, Android devices, BlackBerry phones, and some Windows and Symbian devices.

 

Waze.com Traffic Feed

 

A feature that appeals to many (including me) is the “real time” traffic updates which are posted by Waze users as they drive various routes. Of course, I’d recommend pulling over or having a passenger text the update. This section also includes construction warnings, speed trap updates and, “chit chat” – tweet-like interchanges.

Give Waze a try. On Tuesday Waze, based in Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv, announced that it had raised $25 million in financing in a Series B round led by Blue Run Ventures, Magma Venture Partners and Vertex Venture Capital. The company last raised money in March 2008 from the same pool of investors. Looks like they’ll be around for a while.

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