Author(s): Raghu Gopal
Last week, navigation firm Waze announced a partnership with Lyft to be the default maps app for Lyft drivers. Waze uses crowd sourcing to deliver real-time information about traffic conditions, and was acquired by Google in 2013.
The Waze Transport software development kit enables partner companies to integrate Waze data into third-party apps. The company is looking to build a global presence, and firms including Cabify in Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Spain, 99Taxis in Brazil, food delivery service Cornershop in Chile and Mexico, and the Genesis Pulse ambulance service and JustPark in the UK have already signed up to use the new offering.
The partnership with Lyft will see its 100,000 drivers added into Waze's traffic and guidance system, which already boasts 50 million users. This will increase the value of the navigation service, and be particularly helpful in contributing live crowd-sourced data about more suburban areas in the US and in countries where Waze has fewer users.
The spirited competition between Lyft and Uber should help to further increase consumer awareness of Waze, hopefully adding more users and resulting in even more traffic information. There's a positive cycle here, as a growing number of active users will reinforce the reliability of the Waze data and improve its real-time suggestions. Lyft's choice of Waze as its default navigation service should help its drivers to obtain higher feedback scores, since navigation is a key metric used to determine these ratings.
In 2015, Uber is believed to have explored an opportunity to acquire Here from Nokia before agreeing to use mapping assets from Microsoft. The announcement between Lyft and Waze will increase pressure on Uber to improve to its navigation solutions in order to remain the market leader in the US and to aid its expansion into new markets in Asia, Europe and Latin America.