Google Maps is starting to look a lot more like Waze. Google today announced a series of new features that will allow drivers using the Maps app on iOS to report accidents, speed traps, and traffic jams. And on both iOS and Android, users will be able to report other driving hazards and incidents, like road construction, lane closures, disabled vehicles, and objects in the road — like debris. These are all core Waze features and among the primary reasons why many users opt for Waze over Google Maps.
Google had already offered accident, speed traps, and traffic slowdown reports on Android before today.
The new updates follow a steady launch of Waze-like additions to the Google Maps app.
For example, Google launched speed limits and speed trap alerts in over 40 countries in Google Maps back in May. And it had been testing various driving hazard alerts before now. Google Maps had also previously adopted other Waze features, like the ability to add a stop to your route while in navigation mode, or the ability to view nearby gas prices.
When you’re navigating your route in Google Maps, you can tap to add a report then choose from a long list that now includes: Crash, Speed Trap, Slowdown, Construction, Lane Closure, Disabled vehicle, and Object on Road.
With the additions, Google is chipping away at the many reasons why people still turn to Waze.
However, Waze is still better for planning a trip by connecting to your personal calendar or Facebook events, while Google Maps has instead focused more on helping users plan their commutes. Waze also is more social and includes a carpooling service.
The benefit of more users switching to Maps means more aggregate data to help power Google’s other products. Data collection from Google Maps is behind features like those that show the wait times, popular times and visit duration at local businesses, for example. Plus, Google Maps is a jumping off point for Google’s My Business platform, which has more recently been challenging Facebook Pages by allowing Maps users to follow their favorite businesses to track promotions and events, and even message the businesses directly.
Google says the new Google Maps features start rolling out globally on Android and iOS this week.
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