Mountain View has just authorized Android smartphone and tablet manufacturers to pre-install Waze on the devices they’re making, in order to make the social GPS and traffic app more popular.
Once a remarkable Israeli startup, Waze became the property of Google in 2013, when the tech giant bought it for $1.1 billion. After the purchase, Waze and Google Maps weren’t allowed to play together, and while that doesn’t seem to change in the immediate future, at least the company has included it in Google Mobile Services and gave manufacturer the green light for pre-installing it.
Since it was acquired by Google, Waze has had a couple of low moments, the most recent of them taking place this January, when the US Police claimed that it is a stalking app, and that the company is helping criminals to avoid cops.
“I can think of 100 ways that it could present an officer-safety issue. There’s no control over who use it. So, if you’re a criminal and you want to rob a bank, hypothetically, you use your Waze,” said the executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, Jim Pasco. Waze spokesperson, Julie Mossler, replied that “These relationships keep citizens safe, promote faster emergency response and alleviate traffic congestion.”
At this year’s MWC conference in Barcelona, Mossler emphasized the benefits of offering Waze as a default app on Android devices: “If a leading telecom preinstalls Waze in his handsets, a large percentage of the population would immediately have access to blocked roads, dangerous intersections traffic and more in real time.”
Considering the sorts of bloatware some manufacturers ship with their devices, the addition of a truly useful app will seem like a breath of fresh air to Android users. However, it would be fair to allow uninstalling the app, as not all Android users are drivers and vicecersa.
While this may be great news for drivers who want to get to their destination fast and safe, there will surely be more such reactions from law enforcement agencies from all around the world.
Now that the Android version of Waze has a bright future ahead, it’s time for the Windows Phone app to get some love. On the other hand, iOS users don’t seem to care that much about Waze, as the chances of it coming pre-installed on iPhones and iPads are null.
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