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Waze (/wz/; formerly FreeMap Israel) is a GPS navigation software app. It works on smartphones and tablet computers that have GPS support. It provides turn-by-turn navigation information and user-submitted travel times and route details, while downloading location-dependent information over a mobile telephone network. Waze describes its app as a community-driven GPS navigation app, which is free to download and use.

Logo for waze.svg
Original author(s)Waze Mobile
Initial release2006; 12 years ago (2006) (as FreeMap Israel)
Stable release(s)
Android4.46.1.3 / December 16, 2018; 1 day ago (2018-12-16)[1]
iOS4.46 / December 9, 2018; 8 days ago (2018-12-09)[2]
Preview release(s)
Android4.45.1.902 / November 27, 2018; 20 days ago (2018-11-27)[3]
RepositorySource code
Available in40 languages[4]
TypeGPS navigation software
LicenseCommercial proprietary software

The Israeli company Waze Mobile developed the Waze software. Ehud Shabtai, Amir Shinar and Uri Levine founded the company. Two Israeli venture capital firms, Magma and Vertex, and an early-stage American venture capital firm, Bluerun Ventures, provided funding. Google acquired Waze Mobile in 2013.

In 2013, the GSM Association, a trade association of mobile network operators, gave Waze the Best Overall Mobile App award at the association's Mobile World Congress exhibition.[5]




In 2006, FreeMap Israel was a project founded and developed by Israeli programmer Ehud Shabtai as a community project, which aimed to create, with the crowd sourcing assistance of community users, a free digital database of the map of Israel in Hebrew, and to ensure its free content, update and distribution.[6] In 2008, Shabtai formed a company called Waze to commercialize the project.[7] The company name was changed to Waze Mobile Ltd in 2009.

In December 2011, Waze employed 80 people, composed of 70 at Ra'anana, Israel and 10 in Palo Alto, California.[8][9][10][11]

In 2010, the company raised $25 million in the second round of funding.[12]

In 2011, the company, which planned to monetize through location-based advertising and to expand into Asia, raised an additional $30 million in financing.[13]

In 2011, the app was updated to display real-time, community-curated points of interest, including local events such as street fairs and protests.[14]

As of January 2012, the app had been downloaded 12 million times worldwide.[13][15] In July 2012, Waze announced that it had reached 20 million users, half of them recruited in the previous six months.[16] According to Yahoo! there were nearly 50 million Waze users as of June 2013.[17]

In June 2012, Waze launched an update to provide real-time fuel prices. As with all Waze real-time updates, prices are submitted by users; however, this feature is not available in all countries.[18]

Since November 2012, in monetizing its app, Waze has offered resellers and advertisers a web interface to advertise based on location, where a small icon appears when a phone is at a particular location, prompting the user to engage.[19] It also offers to TV news stations a web interface to broadcast current traffic reports and alerts directly from the Waze app; the service had been used by 25 U.S. TV news stations by June 2013.[20] It has also been used in Rio de Janeiro inside Centro de Operações Rio (Rio's Operations Center) since July 24, 2013,[21] as well as in New York and New Jersey since 2012.

In June 2013, Waze introduced a global localization project that enables future road closures and real-time traffic updates during major events in a given country, for example Tour de France.[22]

Google subsidiary (2013–present)Edit

Google bought Waze for $966 million in 2013 to add social data to its mapping business. Waze's 100 employees received about $1.2 million on average, the largest payout to employees in Israeli high tech.[23]

In June 2013, the United States Federal Trade Commission started considering whether Google's purchase of Waze might violate competition law[24] – Waze was one of very few competitors in the mobile mapping sector to Google's own Google Maps. The FTC decided that it would not challenge Google's acquisition of Waze.[25] The UK Office of Fair Trading and the Israel Antitrust Authority also investigated it and allowed the acquisition.[26][27][28]

Google filed a "10-Q" form with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) stating that the Waze acquisition cost $966 million.

In March 2017, Spotify announced its partnership with Waze to give an integrated experience where Wazers could play music on Spotify directly from Waze app and get Waze directions on Spotify app on the Android platform. Six months later, the feature was made available on the iOS platform.[29][30]

In May 2017, Waze introduced the ability for users to record their own voice navigation prompts.[31]

In August 2018, Waze introduced Android Auto support.[32]

In September 2018, Waze introduced Apple CarPlay support after Apple released iOS 12.[33]

In October 2018, Waze announced its partnership with Pandora, Deezer, iHeart Radio, NPR One, Scribd, Stitcher, and TuneIn for Waze Audio Player which Spotify has been Waze inaugural partner. However, Android users won't be able to link Deezer, and iOS users won't have access to Pandora, NPR, or TuneIn when Waze announced its partnership in Medium suggesting joining its beta program to be able to use mentioned services.[34]


The Waze app on iOS with visible users, traffic volume, and user-submitted reports

Waze collects map data, travel times and traffic information from users and transmits it to the Waze server, at no cost to Waze.[35] Waze users ("Wazers") can report accidents, traffic jams, speed and police traps, and, from the online map editor, can update roads, landmarks, house numbers, etc. Waze sends anonymous information, including users' speed and location, back to its database to improve the service as a whole.

Based on the information collected, Waze is then in a position to provide routing and real-time traffic updates. Waze can also identify the cheapest fuel station near a user or along their route, provided Waze has enabled fuel prices for that country.

Waze can be used anywhere in the world but requires enough initial users to create the maps and continuously update data to make it useful. Currently, only 13 countries have a full base map; the others are incompletely mapped, requiring users to record roads and edit maps.

Waze offers turn-by-turn voice navigation, real-time traffic, and other location-specific alerts. Waze encourages users to report traffic or road hazards by offering points.[36] Add-ons expand the functions and personalize this interaction with the app. For example, add-ons can integrate Foursquare and Facebook friends to Waze or notify the user when driving through a high-crime area.[37]

In 2017, an option was added for motorcycle users, as well as specialized routes for people eligible to drive in carpool lanes.[38]

OS supportEdit

Waze supports Android and iPhone, while Symbian, BlackBerry 10 (except BlackBerry Q10),[39] Windows Phone 8[40] and Windows Mobile from version 5[41] were deprecated. In July 2013, Waze said they planned to support both iPhone and Android and would consider supporting new platforms. As older platforms (Symbian, WM, BlackBerry) do not support either a full native UI or other application programming interfaces they rely on, they claimed they could not support them anymore, although existing versions would continue to work.[42]

Interaction with governmentEdit

Waze invented and initiated the connected citizens program (CCP), a free data sharing program used by over 200 governments, departments of transportation and municipalities for traffic analysis, road planning, and emergency workforce dispatching.[43] Waze both contributes to government data and also collects government data to use.

In 2014, Rio de Janeiro started collecting data for its traffic management system. Rio collects real-time data both from drivers who use the Waze navigation app and pedestrians who use the public-transportation app Moovit. Rio was also talking to the owners of cycling app Strava to monitor movements of cyclists. It was noted that though initially the data the apps were sharing was all anonymous, more specific identifying details were possible, if people agreed to being monitored through their smartphones if they saw benefits for them.[44]


Concerns have been expressed that the app located on smartphones can be used to monitor movements by identifiable individuals.[44]

Some road-safety advocates have voiced concern over the prospect of more drivers using Waze, which they say has the potential to distract them with a flurry of icons and notifications and put them at greater risk of an accident.[45]

In March 2014, a successful attempt was made by students from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology to fake a traffic jam.[46]

In December 2014, in a letter sent to Google, Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck complained about the police locator feature, claiming it could be "misused by those with criminal intent to endanger police officers and the community". It was alleged that Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who shot and killed two NYPD officers that month, had used the Waze app prior to the murders and had posted a screenshot from the app on his Instagram account hours before the shootings.[47] Users are able to mark the presence of an officer with a small icon and indicate if the officer is visible or hidden. The LAPD, among other police agencies, pressured Google to disable the feature on the application. Google states that knowing the whereabouts of an officer promotes safer driving.[48][49]

In April 2018, Waze was criticized for rerouting traffic to Baxter Street in Echo Park, Los Angeles, which is one of the steepest hills in the city, having a 32% grade. This led to crashes and spin-outs in a neighborhood with an elementary school.[50][51]

Patents and licensingEdit

Waze Mobile Ltd holds several patents, including:

  • U.S. Patent 7,936,284. System and method for parking time estimations. Issued May 3, 2011
  • U.S. Patent 8,271,057. Condition-based activation, shut-down and management of applications of mobile devices. Issued September 18, 2012
  • U.S. Patent 8,612,136. System and method for roadmap creation. Issued December 17, 2013, with priority date of August 27, 2008. This patent was mentioned in the class action suit filed in 2014.

The Waze v2.x software was distributed under GNU General Public License v2, which did not extend to map data.[52] FreeMap[53] data was not published under open content licenses even before the shift to Waze project. Ehud Shabtai who initiated and developed Freemap and Waze continuously insisted to crowdsource data without using external sources or projects like OpenStreetMap that would restrict commercialization of the Waze map data.[54] Starting with Waze v3 the application was rewritten and as such switched to a proprietary license.[55] The last open-source client version for the iPhone and Android is, and for Windows Mobile 2.0.[56][57]

A class action suit was filed in March 2014 by accountant Roey Gorodish against Waze, claiming intellectual property violation for the use of open-source FreeMap map and code from the open-source RoadMap software,[58] a project that Ehud Shabtai had contributed for the Windows PocketPC version in 2006.[59][60][61] The lawsuit was dismissed on March 5, 2017 with a clear cut decision that there was no basis for a class action suit in this case.


One of the unique aspects of Waze is the ability to direct users based on crowdsourced information. Waze users are able to report a multitude of traffic-related incidents from accidents to police traps. This data is used by Waze to help other users either by alerting them of the condition ahead or even rerouting the user to avoid the area entirely. In addition to user input, Waze also relies on information from state agencies for traffic events such as road construction. The idea behind this is, the more people who provide data the more accurate it will be.[62]

In addition to using crowdsourced information for traffic alerts, Waze also allows registered users to modify the map data itself through the Waze Map Editor. Map editors are allowed to make changes to the map based on where they have driven while using Waze as well as their rank which is based on how many map edits a user has made.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Waze - GPS, Maps, Traffic Alerts & Live Navigation". APKMirror. Android Police. December 16, 2018. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  2. ^ Waze Inc. (December 9, 2018). "Waze Navigation & Live Traffic". App Store. Apple. Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  3. ^ "Waze - GPS, Maps, Traffic Alerts & Live Navigation". APKMirror. Android Police. November 27, 2018. Retrieved November 27, 2018.
  4. ^ "Waze localization". Transifex. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  5. ^ Hoffman, Tzahi (February 27, 2013). "Waze wins Best Mobile App award in Barcelona". Globes. Rishon Le-Zion, Israel: Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  6. ^ Freemap Israel Archived from the original on March 9, 2008. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ Freemap Israel Archived from the original on February 7, 2009. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ Blum, Brian (December 19, 2011). "Waze steers you clear of traffic". Israel21c. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
  9. ^ Hoge, Patrick (October 18, 2011). "Waze raises $30 million". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
  10. ^ "Company Overview of Waze Ltd". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
  11. ^ Singh, Sukasha (March 16, 2012). "Social network paves the Waze". TechCentral. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
  12. ^ Waze revs up crowdsourced driving app with $25M. Venturebeat. December 7, 2010
  13. ^ a b Devindra Hardawar. Waze raises $30M for its crowdsourced driving app, hits 7M users. Forbes, October 18, 2011
  14. ^ "Waze Introduces Redesigned App for iPad, iPhone & iPod touch, Steering Drivers from Local Search to Local Discovery". San Francisco Chronicle. October 13, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  15. ^ Gilbert, Jason (February 9, 2012). "Waze, A Free GPS Driving App, Features Spoken Turn-By-Turn Directions And User Input". HuffPost.
  16. ^ Lardinois, Frederic. July 5, 2012. "Waze Doubles Its User Base To 20 Million in 6 Months."
  17. ^ Yahoo, June 12, 2013 "Waze sale signals new growth for Israeli high tech"
  18. ^ Ha, Anthony. June 20, 2012. "Navigation App Waze Adds Real-Time Fuel Prices."
  19. ^ "Waze Maps Out Native Ad Platform Driving app navigates direct sales, self-serve". Adweek. November 7, 2012. Retrieved June 18, 2013.
  20. ^ "What Waze Adds To Google: A View From Waze's CEO". Forbes. June 13, 2013. Retrieved June 13, 2013.
  21. ^ "Prefeitura começa a usar Waze no Centro de Operações Rio". O Globo. July 24, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
  22. ^ "Waze Blog: How to Beat Epic Traffic Caused by Summer Events". Waze. June 27, 2013. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
  23. ^ Teig, Amir (June 13, 2013). "Waze employees clinch most lucrative exit in Israeli history". Haaretz. Retrieved June 25, 2013.
  24. ^ "US Federal Trade Commission probes Google Waze deal". Tekinsol. June 23, 2013. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
  25. ^ Melissa Grey. "FTC will not challenge Google's $1 billion Waze acquisition". Engadget. AOL.
  26. ^ "Google acquisition of Waze traffic app sparks OFT inquiry". The Guardian. August 27, 2013. Retrieved August 28, 2013.
  27. ^ "Israel's antitrust panel taking a look at Google-Waze merger". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. October 2, 2013. Retrieved October 3, 2013.
  28. ^ Waze - News - GCR - Global Competition Review Global Competition Review
  29. ^ "Spotify + Waze Partnership". Spotify. March 15, 2017. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  30. ^ "Waze integrates Spotify into its iOS app". The Verge. September 18, 2017. Retrieved October 16, 2017.
  31. ^ "How to record your own voice for Waze navigation". CNET. May 11, 2017. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  32. ^ "Same Waze, Bigger Screen: Waze for Android Auto is Here". Medium. August 10, 2018. Retrieved November 10, 2018.
  33. ^ "Waze for Apple CarPlay is Here". Medium. September 25, 2018. Retrieved November 10, 2018.
  34. ^ "7 Partners join the Waze Audio Player Family". Medium. October 29, 2018. Retrieved November 10, 2018.
  35. ^ Terdiman, Daniel (August 6, 2009). "CNET News – Waze iPhone app provides real-time, crowdsourced traffic data". CNET. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  36. ^ Furchgott, Roy (May 6, 2010). "Waze in a New York Times blog". The New York Times. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  37. ^ "How Much Does it Cost to Create an App Like Waze?". Stormotion Blog. March 2, 2017. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  38. ^ Welch, Chris (November 29, 2017). "Waze adds new motorcycle mode and 'OK Waze' voice commands". The Verge. Retrieved November 30, 2017.
  39. ^ "Waze FAQs". Waze. Archived from the original on July 8, 2013. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  40. ^ "Waze". Windows. November 20, 2013. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
  41. ^ Waze Support, Quick Help. Type "Windows mobile" in search box. Shows "How to install Waze" with download for WM5-6 on device from Also, Symbian and old Blackberry.
  42. ^ Waze Support, Quick Help. Type "Future Waze versions" in search box. Shows "Future Waze versions and operating systems". States that current versions for WM, BB and Symbian will remain available.
  43. ^ "WAZE IS DRIVING INTO CITY HALL". Fast Company.
  44. ^ a b "Why Google's Waze Is Trading User Data With Local Governments". Forbes.
  45. ^ Kevin Roose (June 14, 2013). "Did Google Just Buy a Dangerous Driving App?". New York.
  46. ^ Kelsey D. Atherton (March 31, 2014). "Israeli Students Spoof Waze App With Fake Traffic Jam". Popular Science. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  47. ^ "Traffic app maker Waze rejects criticism by L.A. police chief". Reuters. January 27, 2015.
  48. ^ "Police say Waze cop-tracker is threat to officers". CBC News.
  49. ^ Eileen Sullivan (January 29, 2015). "Google Waze traffic app draws ire of U.S. sheriffs". CBC News. Retrieved March 3, 2015.
  50. ^
  51. ^ "On one of L.A.'s steepest streets, an app-driven frenzy of spinouts, confusion and crashes".
  52. ^ "Waze Terms of Use". Waze. May 31, 2012. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  53. ^ "". Archived from the original on April 9, 2006. Retrieved 2015-04-29.
  54. ^ Brady Forrest (August 14, 2009). "O'Reilly Radar – Waze: Make Your Own Maps in Realtime". O'Reilly. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  55. ^ "Waze вече няма да е под GPL. Затваря си сорс кода. " Корабен дневник на MiCRoPhoBIC". June 30, 2012. Archived from the original on 2014-01-04. Retrieved September 25, 2012.
  56. ^ "Waze Wiki Source code". Archived from the original on March 3, 2011. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
  57. ^ "Waze iPhone Source code". Waze. June 15, 2013. Retrieved June 15, 2013.
  58. ^ "Waze – Copyrights and licenses". Archived from the original on March 4, 2011. Retrieved 2015-04-29.
  59. ^ "Accountant Sues Waze for Allegedly Stolen Code". TMCnet. March 31, 2014. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
  60. ^ "Waze founder in 2006: Maps belong to the community". Haaretz. March 31, 2014. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
  61. ^ "$1B exit and you don't cut us in? No Waze Jose!". Geektime. March 30, 2014. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
  62. ^ "Are You Gonna Go My Waze? Practical Advice for Working with 3rd Party Data Providers". Retrieved May 8, 2018.

External linksEdit