Thanks to Waze, the popular Israeli mapping app Google bought for a reported $1.1 billion, Google's Maps app will now include some incredibly useful information: real-time traffic, accidents, road closures, and other incident reports from Waze's 40 million users. Under the traffic tab of the recently updated Maps app on both iOS and Android devices, travelers will find alerts reported reported by diligent Waze users. The Waze app won its loyal following by allowing users to flag things like gas stations, construction, and nasty road conditions for their fellow travelers. Now, the Google Maps community will benefit from the crowd-sourced incident reports, too. (At least those users located in U.S., Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Switzerland, and the U.K.)
Google Maps has had real-time traffic data from third-party providers like TomTom for awhile, but the quality of the crowd-sourced information from Waze is what commanded that billion-dollar acquisition price. Brian McClendon, VP of Google Maps, told AllThingsD's Liz Gannes that "billions" of incidents have been reported by Waze users, who are actual drivers on the roads, rather than indirect intel like a satellite (like TomTom).