Google acquired Waze earlier this month. I've played with a lot of the GPS / navigation apps on the iPhone and they all have their pros and cons. However, I discovered and wrote about Waze last summer and it has emerged as my favorite..
So how do I feel about Google buying Waze? There's always the concern that a big company will screw up the services they acquire, of course. However, if these two companies combine their strengths I think this could be a good thing for consumers.
This got me thinking. What would be my ideal app? I think it would be a hybrid of the most popular apps.
I'd take the search capabilities of Google. That's a no-brainer. In fact, this was the major weakness of Waze, and it's the thing that makes me the most excited about the collaboration of the two.
I'd also take Google's maps and driving directions. It's really the standard, and as Apple's well documented mapping problems demonstrate, you can't just pull mapping out of thin air.
I'd take the social aspects of Waze. Most of the major navigation apps try to provide some traffic data, but nothing beats the reporting in Waze: Speed traps, accidents, traffic slowdowns, detours - you name it. Adding all the Google users will only make this crowdsourcing better.
I would, however, add one social aspect of Twist. Twist is pretty much a one trick pony, but it has a nice trick - it lets people at your destination know how soon you're going to be there. Waze has tried to do something like this, largely via Facebook, but I like Twist better.
Of course, this feature would also really work well if it could be combined with the iPhone's Find My Friends app.
Despite how widely panned Apple's foray into mapping has been, I actually kind of like it. I haven't had any issues with navigation, but I know it IS an issue (that's getting better, but it's still an issue). However, it has a very nice aesthetic and, of course, it's nicely integrated into the operating system (read: Siri).
So, make me an app that combines all these features and I'll be happy.
Make sure it's easy to use though :)