Original author(s) Waze Mobile
Developer(s) Waze Mobile
Stable release
4.15.0 (IOS); (Android); (Windows Phone 8–8.1, Windows 10 Mobile);
2.1.99 (Symbian); (BlackBerry); (Windows Mobile 6.x); / 21 November 2016 (2016-11-21)
Operating system Android, BlackBerry 10, BlackBerry OS (beta), iOS, Windows Mobile 5–6, Windows Phone 8-8.1, Windows 10 Mobile, Symbian, Maemo
Type GPS navigation software
License Software and Maps: Proprietary
Website waze.com

Waze (/wz/), formerly (FreeMap Israel) is a GPS-based geographical navigation application program that was first developed and popularized by the Israeli company Waze Mobile. It works on smartphones and tablets with GPS support and provides turn-by-turn information and user-submitted travel times and route details, downloading location-dependent information over mobile networks. Waze Mobile was founded in Israel, funded by early-stage American venture capital firm Bluerun Ventures, and eventually acquired by Google in 2013.

Waze won the Best Overall Mobile App award at the 2013 Mobile World Congress, beating Dropbox, Flipboard and others.[1] On June 11, 2013, Google completed the acquisition of Waze for a reported US$1.3 billion.[2][3] As part of the deal signed, each of Waze's 100 employees was to receive an average of about $1.2 million, which represents the largest payout to employees in the history of Israeli high tech.[4]

Waze supports Android, iPhone, Symbian, BlackBerry 10 (except BlackBerry Q10),[5] Windows Phone 8[6] and Windows Mobile from version 5.[7] In July 2013 Waze said they planned to support both iPhone and Android, and would consider supporting new platforms. As older platforms (Symbian, WM, BlackBerry) do not support either a full native UI or other application programming interfaces they rely on, they could not support them, although existing versions would continue to work.[8]


In 2006, a community project was founded by Ehud Shabtai – "FreeMap Israel". The project aimed to create, by the community users, a free digital database of the map of Israel in Hebrew, and to ensure its free content, update and distribution, for non-commercial usage, as convenient as possible.[9] In 2008, the project website stated: “We have a new name and address. From now on, we are called Waze”.[10] The company name was changed to Waze Mobile Ltd in 2009.

In December 2011, Waze employed 80 people, composed of 70 at Ra'anana, Israel and 10 in Palo Alto, California.[11][12][13][14]

In 2010, the company raised $25 million in the second round of funding.[15]

In 2011, the company, which planned to monetize through location-based advertising and to expand into Asia, raised an additional $30 million in financing.[16]

Acquisition by Google

Facebook and other companies were interested in purchasing Waze, but did not reach an agreement.[17][18][19] In June 2013, Google bought Waze for $1.1 billion, adding social data to its mapping business.[20][21] In June 2013, the United States Federal Trade Commission started considering whether Google's purchase of Waze might violate competition law[22] – Waze was one of very few competitors in the mobile mapping sector to Google's own Google Maps. In 2013 the FTC decided that it would not challenge Google's acquisition of Waze.[23] The UK Office of Fair Trading and the Israel Antitrust Authority also investigated it and allowed the acquisition.[24][25][26]


The Waze app with visible users, traffic volume, and noted red-light cameras

Waze differs from traditional GPS navigation software in that it is community-driven, gathering complementary map data and traffic information from its users.[27] Like other GPS software it learns from users' driving times to provide routing and real-time traffic updates. It is free to download and use. People can report accidents, traffic jams, speed and police traps, and from the online map editor, can update roads, landmarks, house numbers, etc. Waze also identifies the cheapest fuel station near a user or along their route, provided Waze has enabled fuel prices for that country. As of January 2012, the app had been downloaded 12 million times worldwide.[16][28] In July 2012 Waze announced that it had reached 20 million users, half of them recruited in the previous six months.[29] According to Yahoo! there were nearly 50 million Waze users as of June 2013.[30]

Waze can be used anywhere in the world but requires enough users to provide data to make it useful. Currently only 13 countries have a full base map, the others are incompletely mapped, requiring users to record roads and edit maps. As of 2013 Waze has a complete base map for the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Israel (claimed to be the best map for that country[31]), South Africa,[32] Colombia, Ecuador, Chile and Panama, but the company has plans to complete maps for other countries in Europe and elsewhere.[33][34]

In addition to turn-by-turn voice navigation, real-time traffic, and other location-specific alerts, Waze simultaneously sends anonymous information, including users' speed and location, back to its database to improve the service as a whole. This crowdsourcing allows the Waze community to report navigation and mapping errors and traffic accidents simply by running the app while driving. Waze uses gaming conventions to engage users and encourage them to provide more information, allowing them to "drive over" icons of cupcakes and other things to earn points. Waze also offers points for traffic or road hazard reports, which can be used to change the user's avatar, and to increase their status in the community.[35]

In 2011 Waze Mobile updated the software to display real-time, community-curated points of interest, including local events such as street fairs and protests.[36]

In June 2012 Waze launched an update to provide real-time fuel prices. As with all Waze real-time updates, prices are submitted by users, however this feature is not available in all countries.[37]

Since November 2012, in monetizing its app, Waze offers resellers and advertisers a web interface to advertise based on location, where a small icon appears when a phone is at a particular location, prompting the user to engage.[38] It also offers to TV news stations a web interface to broadcast current traffic reports and alerts directly from the Waze app; the service had been used by 25 TV U.S. news stations by June 2013.[39] It has also been used in Rio de Janeiro inside Centro de Operações Rio (Rio's Operations Center) since July 24, 2013,[40] as well as in New York and New Jersey since 2012.

In June 2013, Waze introduced a global localization project that enables future road closures and real-time traffic updates during major events in a given country, for example Tour de France.[41]

Safety and security risk

Some road-safety advocates have voiced concern over the prospect of more drivers using Waze, which they say has the potential to distract them with a flurry of icons and notifications and put them at greater risk of an accident.[42]

In March 2014, a successful attempt was made by students from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology to fake a traffic jam.[43]

In December 2014, in a letter sent to Google, Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck complained about the police locator feature, claiming it could be "misused by those with criminal intent to endanger police officers and the community". It was alleged that Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who shot and killed two NYPD officers that month in retaliation for the police killings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, had used the Waze app prior to the murders and had posted a screenshot from the app on his Instagram account hours before the shootings.[44] Users are able to mark the presence of an officer with a small icon and indicate if the officer is visible or hidden. The LAPD, among other police agencies, pressured Google to disable the feature on the application. Google claimed that knowing the whereabouts of an officer promotes safer driving.[45][46]

Interaction with government

Waze is used by governments for planning things like refuse collection routes.[47] Waze both contributes to government and also collects government data to do so. Another example is use by the city of Rio de Janeiro for planning, collecting data from both Waze and moovit.[48]



The Waze v2.x software was distributed under GNU General Public License v2, which did not extend to map data.[49] FreeMap[50] data published under open content licenses was available before the Waze project began, but Waze CEO Noam Bardin felt that Waze was fundamentally different from projects like OpenStreetMap and was wary of map data licensing that would restrict commercialization of the Waze service.[51] Starting with Waze v3 the program switched to a proprietary license.[52] The last open source client version for the iPhone and Android is, and for Windows Mobile 2.0.[53][54]

A class action suit was made in March 2014 by accountant Roey Gorodish against Waze, claiming intellectual property violation for the use of open-source FreeMap map and code from the open-source RoadMap software,[55] a project that Ehud Shabtai had contributed for the Windows PocketPC version in 2006.[56][57][58]

See also


  1. Hoffman, Tzahi (February 27, 2013). "Waze wins Best Mobile App award in Barcelona". Globes. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  2. "Google Maps and Waze, outsmarting traffic together". Retrieved June 11, 2013.
  3. Chan, Edwin. "Google buys Israel’s Waze to protect mobile maps lead." Jewish Journal. June 11, 2013. June 11, 2013.
  4. Teig, Amir (June 13, 2013). "Waze employees clinch most lucrative exit in Israeli history". Haaretz. Retrieved June 25, 2013.
  5. "Waze FAQs". World.waze.com. Archived from the original on July 8, 2013. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  6. "Waze". windowsphone.com. November 20, 2013. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
  7. Waze Support, Quick Help. Type "Windows mobile" in search box. Shows "How to install Waze" with download for WM5-6 on device from https://m.waze.com. Also Symbian and old Blackberry.
  8. Waze Support, Quick Help. Type "Future Waze versions" in search box. Shows "Future Waze versions and operating systems". States that current versions for WM, BB and Symbian will remain available.
  9. Freemap Israel https://web.archive.org/web/20080309014056/http://www.freemap.co.il/terms.html. Archived from the original on March 9, 2008. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. Freemap Israel https://web.archive.org/web/20090207203404/http://freemap.co.il/index.html. Archived from the original on February 7, 2009. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. Blum, Brian (December 19, 2011). "Waze steers you clear of traffic". Israel21c. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
  12. Hoge, Patrick (October 18, 2011). "Waze raises $30 million". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
  13. "Company Overview of Waze Ltd.". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
  14. Singh, Sukasha (March 16, 2012). "Social network paves the Waze". TechCentral. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
  15. Waze revs up crowdsourced driving app with $25M. Venturebeat. December 7, 2010
  16. 1 2 Devindra Hardawar. Waze raises $30M for its crowdsourced driving app, hits 7M users. Forbes, October 18, 2011
  17. Buzelan, Shira (May 9, 2013). "Facebook to purchase Waze". The Times of Israel. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  18. "Report: Facebook's Waze acquisition talks hit the brakes". Haaretz, TheMarker. May 29, 2013. Retrieved June 10, 2013.
  19. Teig, Amir (May 24, 2013). "Report: Google may outbid Facebook for Israeli startup Waze – Business – Israel News". Haaretz. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  20. Douglas MacMillan and Brian Womack (June 10, 2013). "Google Is Said to Be Acquiring Waze for $1.1 Billion". Bloomberg.
  21. Maierbrugger, Arno (June 12, 2013). "Google buys map-software provider Waze for $1b". Inside Investor. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  22. "US Federal Trade Commission probes Google Waze deal". tekinsol.com. June 23, 2013. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
  23. Melissa Grey. "FTC will not challenge Google's $1 billion Waze acquisition". Engadget. AOL.
  24. "Google acquisition of Waze traffic app sparks OFT inquiry". The Guardian. August 27, 2013. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  25. "Israel's antitrust panel taking a look at Google-Waze merger". JTA. October 2, 2013. Retrieved October 3, 2013.
  26. Waze - News - GCR - Global Competition Review Global Competition Review
  27. Terdiman, Daniel (August 6, 2009). "CNET News – Waze iPhone app provides real-time, crowdsourced traffic data". CNET. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  28. Gilbert, Jason (February 9, 2012). "Waze, A Free GPS Driving App, Features Spoken Turn-By-Turn Directions And User Input". The Huffington Post.
  29. Lardinois, Frederic. July 5, 2012. "Waze Doubles Its User Base To 20 Million in 6 Months."
  30. Yahoo.com, June 12, 2013 "Waze sale signals new growth for Israeli high tech" http://news.yahoo.com/waze-sale-signals-growth-israeli-high-tech-174533585.html
  31. "Community car GPS navigation – WAZE – at DEMOfall09". YouTube. September 27, 2009. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  32. "Waze Blog – Waze launches in South Africa". Waze.com. March 14, 2012. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  33. "Waze Blog – Waze now available internationally – put your country on the map!". Waze.com. November 10, 2009. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  34. "Waze Forum – European Maps Schedule Update". Waze.com. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  35. Furchgott, Roy (May 6, 2010). "Waze in a New York Times blog". Wheels.blogs.nytimes.com. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  36. "Waze Introduces Redesigned App for iPad, iPhone & iPod touch, Steering Drivers from Local Search to Local Discovery". San Francisco Chronicle. October 13, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  37. Ha, Anthony. June 20, 2012. "Navigation App Waze Adds Real-Time Fuel Prices." http://techcrunch.com/2012/06/20/waze-fuel/
  38. "Waze Maps Out Native Ad Platform Driving app navigates direct sales, self-serve". adweek.com. November 7, 2012. Retrieved June 18, 2013.
  39. "What Waze Adds To Google: A View From Waze's CEO". Forbes. June 13, 2013. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  40. "Prefeitura começa a usar Waze no Centro de Operações Rio". O Globo. July 24, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
  41. "Waze Blog: How to Beat Epic Traffic Caused by Summer Events". waze.com. June 27, 2013. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  42. Kevin Roose (June 14, 2013). "Did Google Just Buy a Dangerous Driving App?". New York mag.
  43. Kelsey D. Atherton (March 31, 2014). "Israeli Students Spoof Waze App With Fake Traffic Jam". Popular Science. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  44. "Traffic app maker Waze rejects criticism by L.A. police chief". Jan 27, 2015.
  45. "Police say Waze cop-tracker is threat to officers". CBC News.
  46. Eileen Sullivan (29 January 2015). "Google Waze traffic app draws ire of U.S. sheriffs". CBC. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  48. "Why Google's Waze Is Trading User Data With Local Governments". Forbes.
  49. "Waze Terms of Use". Waze.com. May 31, 2012. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  50. Freemap.co.il at the Wayback Machine (archived April 9, 2006)
  51. Brady Forrest (August 14, 2009). "O'Reilly Radar – Waze: Make Your Own Maps in Realtime". Radar.oreilly.com. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  52. "Waze вече няма да е под GPL. Затваря си сорс кода. " Корабен дневник на MiCRoPhoBIC". Tonev.net. June 30, 2012. Archived from the original on 2014-04-27. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  53. Waze Wiki Source code at the Wayback Machine (archived March 3, 2011)
  54. "Waze iPhone Source code". Waze.com. June 15, 2013. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  55. Waze – Copyrights and licenses at the Wayback Machine (archived March 4, 2011)
  56. "Accountant Sues Waze for Allegedly Stolen Code". tmcnet.com. March 31, 2014. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
  57. "Waze founder in 2006: Maps belong to the community". Haaretz. March 31, 2014. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
  58. "$1B exit and you don't cut us in? No Waze Jose!". Geektime.com. March 30, 2014. Retrieved April 30, 2014.

External links

Official website

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