Founded out of Israel in 2007, Waze has built a solid reputation and community from its mobile apps that let anyone share real-time data on road conditions and traffic. While much of this happens passively in the background, users can also manually report events such as accidents. And it was this that led Google to paying north of $1 billion to acquire it back in 2013.
With a transport API now in tow, Waze has signed up a number of notable companies as its launch partners, including Genesis Pulse, JustPark, Cornershop, Cabify, 99Taxis, and — interestingly — Lyft. Indeed, you may remember that Google is also a major investor in Uber, Lyft’s archrival in the U.S. e-taxi realm.
At any rate, those permitted to use the Waze API will be able to integrate many of the features Google itself offers through its own Maps platform, such as estimated time of arrival (ETA), preferred routing, and turn-by-turn navigation.
While the API is an invite-only affair for now, it is completely free to use. The reason it’s free is because Waze wants to encourage uptake, and the more third-party transport apps that are using it, the more data Waze (and Google) have to improve their own respective services.