Google and Waze: Acquisition of Really Cool App

 

Ever heard of Waze? I hadn’t, until recently. My husband insisted that Apple Maps was awful and would lead me astray. I brushed him off and kept using it – until I was nearly an hour late picking up a friend from a small airport because Apple Maps told me that it was located in the middle of a lake. Um. No, it’s not. So while my husband briefed me about the history of the Waze app, I downloaded it. I’ve been smitten ever since. The small company also has a colorful recent history.

Waze is a really interesting hybrid of a map service and a social network. You plug in your destination and Waze will tell you how to get there. But the difference is that it uses data collected from other users to give you the quickest possible route. Other Wazers check in, offering information on slowed traffic, accidents, police, cars stopped on the side of the road, and more. The app also senses if you are going slower than the posted speed limit in that area and asks you if the traffic is heavy.

Users can also comment on events. For example, if an accident is noted on the map, there is a thread of conversation attached that users can contribute to. My family and I once discovered that we were going 5mph down the interstate because an RV had crashed into some trees in the median, even though the accident had been cleared by the time we got there.

Originally developed in Israel, recently Waze has skyrocketed in popularity. In 2013, both Facebook and Google attempted to acquire the company. Waze and Facebook could not reach an agreement, and in June 2013, Google was able to acquire the company for more than a billion dollars. However, Google is now being investigated for possibly violating competition law, as there are very few competitors for Google Maps and they just purchased one of the largest ones.

Waze is a free app that is supported by most smartphone platforms. It appears to support itself by the use of sponsored ads. While it is a very useful app here in the U.S. where its mapping system is considered complete, it is not yet complete around the world. Waze also relies on a strong community to keep the maps updated and other users current on what is going on. If you are in a remote area, while the map should be accurate, the social aspect may be lacking.

I don’t work for Waze or get paid to promote it, I just think it’s a really cool app that more people should know about!

(Photo Source)

Maddie Heinen is a regular contributor to ChamberofCommerce.com. She is a freelance writer who specializes in blogging, content creation, and social media. When she is not working, she is taking care of her two kids, husband, and home in Central Florida. Maddie enjoys reading, shopping, and is interested in real estate. She is currently working on establishing her own internet-based media company, Red Hibiscus Media, which will specialize in both online content as well as print material.

PROskore – Businesses for Businesses

PROskore kicked things off in early October 2011 and ranks professionals worldwide. PROskore is a spin-off from former online business network Fast Pitch, which was launched in 2006. I heard about it after my friend Anise Smith had posted it on Facebook. It takes about 20 minutes to input your information and connect to all your networks. The networks include: Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn, Google +, and yes Klout. You can also link your blog. From what I’ve read there are many comparisons to Klout because PROskore, as the name indicates, does indeed give you a score. I think the score is the only similarity with Klout.

PROskore is about what you provide as a business, and what you need as a business. I work for an organization that provides IT Networking / Security, so when another user is looking for IT Networking / Security I’m alerted via a Leads box. It is up to me to contact them through a message via this process. One of the services “I am Looking for” is Web Design. So after I registered I received a handful of messages from other PROskore members that provide Web Design services. That is the crux of PROskore. You can see the value if you are providing or looking for services.

So I love the concept, and can identify the value. It’s just too quiet right now. The Sarasota, Fl based company has said there are over 125K users. My guess is a decent chunk of these users are dormant Fast Pitch participants. I’d be interested to see the active users (logged in last 7 days). The only other thing I would suggest is improving the search. It is clunky at best. Finding someone in another geographic location is not seamless.

I think PROskore has a lot of potential and would highly suggest taking 20 minutes to register if you provide or are looking for business services/products. PROskore is free, but does offer a $19.95 monthly PRO+ subscription. I went for the paid account last week and it better positions you to obtain leads, increases your score (by 8 for me), and improves your SEO (we’ll see). PROskore has received plenty of very favorable press in the last 7 weeks, including positive articles from Mashable and TechCruch. A list of these articles can be found here – PROskore Articles Keep in mind they’ve been PROskore for only 7 weeks. They appear to be doing all the right things to get the word out, and seem very interested in adding to the platform and really making it solid.