Google achète Waze, sans doute une évolution majeure dans le domaine des transports

Identifié en 2010 sur ce blog (lire l'article Waze arrive en France), Waze (lien vers l’application) appartient maintenant à Google. Ce premier, et pour le moment unique, réseau social dédié aux transports utilise tous les leviers du numérique : géolocalisation, participation des usagers pour remonter des données de trafic (d’incidents, de prix des carburant, etc…) et donc capacité à faire travailler environ 10% des utilisateurs pour créer des connaissances uniques, dynamiques et à jour.  

Les synergies entre ces 2 sociétés sont nombreuses et puissantes. Waze préfigure l'indexation du monde physique, la publicité géolocalisée, et finalement la recherche en mobilité de Google. Waze intègre également une monnaie permettant de récompenser les usagers actifs et de mieux se représenter simultanément "soi" et le collectif.

“Whenever you’re going onto the web, you start with a search bar,” he said. “Wherever you’re going in the real world, you’re going to start with Waze.”

En résumé, Waze permet d'accéder à:

  • Trafic temps réel et informations routières basés sur les données de l'usage communautaire
  • Alertes communautaires telles qu'accidents, dangers, contrôles de police, fermetures de routes et bien plus
  • Navigation vocale complète
  • Re-calcul de trajet en fonction des conditions de circulation du moment
  • Apprentissage de vos destinations fréquentes, heures de pointes et trajets préférés
  • Trouver la station service la moins chère sur votre trajet
  • Navigation en "un tap" vers les événements Facebook.
  • Voir ses amis Facebook arriver en un même lieu
  • Notifier que vous être sur votre chemin en envoyant un ETA et un lien vous montrant dans votre déplacement
  • Gagnez des points et montez dans le classement de votre communauté quand vous contribuez aux infos routières
  • Carte temps réel mise à jour en permanence par la communauté des éditeurs de carte de Waze

Ajouter à cela, la capacité à apprendre du temps réel pour faire du prédictif (en plus des smartphones Android) et vous obtenez un acteur central capable de vous donner des connaissances contextualisées dynamiques et prédictives. Les annonceurs vont adorer. Noter au passage la notion de point et de classement dans votre communauté (lire l’article Votre réputation sera votre monnaie et la base de votre réputation altruiste) visant à récompenser sous une forme non monétaire l’activité.

Imaginer ensuite sur votre carte GoogleMap une nouvelle option : les véhicules de la communauté Waze vont informent, et demain vous proposent de covoiturer ou d’autopartager, … Décidemment, la carte n’a pas finie d’être la zone de combat des acteurs du transport (lien vers le système cartographique d'Amazon).

Ce récent article de Forbes propose notamment deux raisons de cette acquisition. Il est rappelé dès le départ que “General navigation and maps, are really the ‘search’ for mobile,” […] and Waze to search the real world tomorrow. Waze, he added, was one of only four major companies that built its own extensive maps of the world, the others being TomTom, Navteq and Google.

First [reason], the ability (eventually) to maintain Google’s own maps in real time, as Waze does. While Google has spent billions of dollars (Bardin mentioned $15 billion at one point) sending its roving Street View cars around the world to map roads, Waze simply collects GPS data from its 50 million users. Anyone who drives with the Waze app turned on is passively providing data that the company can use to better understand not only the world that user is driving through, but their intent.

The second [reason] is Waze’s work on understanding the intent of its users, which is key to unlocking the puzzle of how on Earth you show ads to people on their mobile phones. Bardin’s quest has been to make ads useful. “A user on his everyday journey is not looking for a deal,” he said. “The app has to be open for a different reason.” For Waze that reason is saving people time. “Now that I know where you drive, I can begin offering you deals, I can begin enhancing the experience… If the goal is monetization, it doesn’t work.”

[…] “Just like search became the interface for monetization on the web, maps are going to be a big part of the monetization engine for mobile,” he said, “because that’s what you open when you’re going places.”

Here he pointed to a key parallel between Google and Waze. While Google crawled the web again and again each day to detect changes and update its search algorithms, Waze’s users were crawling the real-world too.

Cette indexation du monde réel déjà mentionnée dans un précédent article (lire l’article Le choc à venir entre industrie automobile et industrie numérique) a déjà eu lieu avec Street View, mais là elle sera réalisée par la multitude. Plus tard, peut être, les GoogleCars pourront aussi poursuivre cette indexation de façon automatique. Les robots alimenteront alors eux-mêmes les données cartographiques dont ils auront besoin pour circuler.

Construire un réseau de publicité

Pour le moment, il n’y a pas de publicité géolocalisée lors d’une utilisation des outils cartographiques Google. Waze pourrait préfigurer la publicité contextualisée de demain.

When a Waze driver in the U.S. is stopped at a light or parked, they’ll often see a ad pop up for Taco Bell, Starbucks or AT&T.

Waze uses ad agencies in Malaysia, Italy, France and struck a deal with IMS Media Services in April 2013 to sell ads in Latin America. Waze has a significant presence in Brazil, Chile and Colombia, an IMS spokesperson said, and key advertisers there include Brazil’s Bradesco Bank, Samsung and Taco Bell.

Waze takes an open perspective to its data and its tools for selling ads. It has a site that makes it relatively easy for second-tier ad sellers or advertisers themselves to pitch to users. It also has a site specifically for TV news stations who want to use Waz
e for their traffic updates, on the condition they name the company on air. At the time of Bardin’s interview Waze was being used on 25 TV news programs across the U.S.

Bardin said about 10% of his staff of roughly 120 people worked on the ad platform. Though it launched globally in November 2012, Waze had spent the year and a half prior — essentially most of 2012 — using its home turf of Israel as a testing bed for selling ads. “We made a tremendous number of mistakes,” he said. “And so we tried different things. We changed our model.”

Many of the changes were small, such as giving the option for a user to “go” to an advertiser offering cheap coffee, rather than “navigate” there, since users confused the latter with going back to their original navigation plan. Waze originally wanted to make an ad model that was similar to Groupon. “But we realized we didn’t want to be part of the transaction itself. We’re basically media.” Involving itself in the transaction opened the door to too many liabilities.

Publicité géolocalisée

Bardin and his team learned that there were two ways that companies could advertise through its maps. One was to take a user directly to one of their outlets — a gas station offering cheaper gas, for instance, and getting more foot traffic in its convenience stores and selling higher-margin items like coffee. The other was for firms, like banks or tire companies, to make drivers aware of where their outlets were and that they existed. Nearly all Waze’s ads are based on location, cross referencing where the Wazer and advertiser are in a given moment. The Holy Grail here was cross referencing all of that GPS data with another component: the consumer’s destination, or intention. This is an avenue which the Waze-Google partnership will almost certainly explore further.

“If you’re driving to work it’s a different experience than if you’re driving to [the American department store] Macy’s,” said Bardin. “When you’re driving to Macy’s you may actually be interested in deals from JC Penny, or a deal from Macy’s, or a Macy’s app, which you never cared about, ever, except when you walk into Macy’s and, ‘Hey maybe there’s deals on the app that may be interesting for you.’ Versus if you’re driving to work you may not care about any of these deals, but knowing your bank’s ATM is around the corner from your work, you may want to get that into your daily occurrence and save ATM fees.”

“We’re early on in figuring it out,” said Bardin, “but the most important thing for us is to always work with real advertisers. Not with theories or ideas, but real advertisers, real customers, real dollars.” Some of its most successful ad campaigns have been with gas stations; in one case a gas chain offered a deep discount on energy drinks, which led to extra sales of gas and food. Waze can’t track these things through to the transaction, since most point-of-sale systems are so old, so it tracked a code that customers had to show at the counter.

Just as advertisers are able to track click-throughs and transactions on the web, they’ll eventually be able to do the same with coupons redeemed through smartphones, Bardin said. “It’s just going to take a long time because of the physical infrastructure.”

Construire une communauté en récompensant par le jeu

La communauté est basée à la fois sur des données géolocalisées issues des utilisateurs eux-mêmes, des algorithmes, une structure hiérarchique entre les usagers passifs et les autres, et des community managers par pays. 

Waze est partiellement “gamifié” pour collecter des points dépendants de son activité pour la communauté. Bien sûr ces points déterminent un statut, un niveau de confiance et de responsabilité.

Ce dispositif d’engagement individuel et collectif permet de mettre à jour des cartes toutes les 24h.

This may sound unsurprising in an age of popular crowd-sourced sites like Wikipedia and Kickstarter, but consider that historically, companies like Navteq, TeleAtlas and Google have paid thousands of people to help it create maps, and update on a annual or quarterly basis at best. Bardin said that Google began realizing around 2003 that a connected world would need maps that refreshed much faster – everyday. Waze’s maps are updated every 24 hours, the data stored in the cloud via Amazon servers. “[Using] people gives us several advantages,” said Bardin. “They’re not dumb sensors. They’re smart. They can see things and contribute.” They also take an interest in local changes to their surroundings.

Google est considéré par Waze comme “the best positioned company” to dominate mobile, and that Apple and Microsoft were not as well prepared for that transition.


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