Lit­tle Waze goes a long way

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TECHNOLOGY - By TAN KIT HOONG bytz@thes­tar.com.my

For a com­pany with only about 110 em­ploy­ees, Waze Inc achieved what most other com­pa­nies re­quire thou­sands of em­ploy­ees world­wide to do — it has cre­ated a nav­i­ga­tion app with a com­pre­hen­sive map with turn-by-turn di­rec­tions.

Waze does this by turn­ing to the users of the app to create and main­tain the map — at its most ba­sic, Waze users them­selves au­to­mat­i­cally build a map of area by sim­ply hav­ing the app run­ning as they drive around.

With more driv­ers us­ing the app, an ever more ac­cu­rate map of the roads in the coun­try is cre­ated.

Map gam­i­fi­ca­tion

But map­ping is just one of the fea­tures of Waze.

Its main func­tion is to pro­vide nav­i­ga­tion and traf­fic in­for­ma­tion, and this is where ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion is en­cour­aged through a gam­i­fi­ca­tion sys­tem that re­wards users who con­trib­ute traf­fic in­for­ma­tion and cor­rect map­ping in­ac­cu­ra­cies.

The users of the app, called Waz­ers, are also scored us­ing a rep­u­ta­tion sys­tem, with the high­est rank­ing and most re­li­able con­trib­u­tors given the power to make cor­rec­tions and ad­di­tions to the map.

Today, Waze has nearly 50 mil­lion users world­wide and 1.5 mil­lion ac­tive users in Malaysia alone and of that num­ber, some 3,300 users are also map edi­tors.

Malaysia boleh

Malaysians may be sur­prised to learn that this coun­try is ac­tu­ally in the top five when it comes to adop­tion of the Waze app.

In fact, Malaysians can take the credit for lit­er­ally build­ing the Waze map into what it is today

“In some coun­tries, we start with a base map, but with the Malaysian map on Waze, we had no base map and it was lit­er­ally a blank slate and all you see now is 100% built up by users alone,” said Dror M. Co­hen, di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions at Waze.

The com­pany has proven to be so valu­able that tech giant Google ear­lier this year bought Waze for US$1.1bil (rM3.53bil) and soon in­te­grated Waze’s so­cial­ly­ob­tained traf­fic in­for­ma­tion into its own Google Maps.

on Waze’s part, the part­ner­ship with Google has not changed how the com­pany op­er­ates, ex­cept that Waze map edi­tors now have ac­cess to ser­vices like Google’s Street View for check­ing ac­cu­racy and mak­ing cor­rec­tions.

Waze it­self is a free app, with rev­enue ob­tained from ad­ver­tis­ers who are given a num­ber of ways to ad­ver­tise in the app it­self, such as by buy­ing PoIs (points of in­ter­ests) which will show up on the map, amongst oth­ers.

The Waze app is avail­able on ioS, An­droid and also Win­dows Phone plat­forms.

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