Google has today launched an interactive mobile app Waze in partnership with Safaricom. The app offers motorists access to accurate and real time information based on crowd sourced data from other road users. Waze was initially developed in Israel and later acquired by Google in 2013 for an amount of USD 1.3 billion, it is in use in over 200 countries. The app is available for free in the Android and iOS app store.

Waze basically collates information generated by other users on the same route to gather information on accidents, impassable sections of the route, traffic jams which is then used to provide the end user advice on alternative routes. Waze provides the user with a view of a map that has been layered onto Google maps. The map provides real time updates on road conditions and depending on the situation, the app can suggest alternative routes to enable you get to your destination faster. Using a traffic bar, the app will calculate the amount of time spent in traffic and will update your progress as you move along. You will also be able to receive information generated from other motorists.

The launch of the app irked some Kenyans on social media, with one person wondering why they did not support the local version Ma3route so soon after the #GES2015. Another school of thought appeared arguing that could be Waze had a better value proposition for Safaricom. My take is that they serve different market segments with Waze targeting motorists and Ma3route targeting people using public service vehicles. Hence the two can co-exist plus competition always benefits consumers in any industry/market.