New Google Maps can help you avoid traffic

Posted at 12:04 PM, Aug 20, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-20 14:04:57-04

(CNN) — Mapping apps on phones have already replaced dedicated navigation devices for many drivers trying to find unfamiliar addresses.

Now, Google Maps will notify drivers about more traffic jams as well.

Google announced Tuesday that its mobile maps will now include real-time updates about accidents, construction and other potential sources of traffic snarls. The information will come from the 50 million users of Waze, the social-mapping app that Google bought in June for $1.1 billion.

Google Maps already had some real-time traffic data from such third-party providers as TomTom. But those updates came from satellite imagery instead of actual drivers on the roads. Israeli startup Waze has built a vast network of motorists who crowdsource such data as commuter routes and road closures to help each other outsmart traffic jams in more than a dozen countries. Frequent users can even earn badges and real-world prizes.

Waze won an award for Best Overall Mobile App award at the 2013 Mobile World Congress. Apple and Facebook were reportedly interested in buying the company before Google snapped it up.

Starting Tuesday, Waze users’ reports on road conditions will appear on the Google Maps app for Android and iOS in the United States as well as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Switzerland and the UK.

Users of Waze apps will now benefit from Google services as well. The Android and iOS versions of Waze have been updated with Google Search to help users find local businesses and landmarks. And Waze’s crowdsourced Map Editor now includes Google Street View and satellite imagery.

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