Your friends are having a party. You're not quite sure where it is, but all the details are in a Facebook Event invite. To get there, you'll have to log into Facebook, find the invite and the address, load it into Google Maps and follow the directions.
Social driving app Waze wants to make that process much, much easier.
On Thursday, Waze announced new features that lets users navigate to any Facebook Event with single click. If you are logged into to Waze via Facebook Connect, you can just click on the event and Waze will direct you to the party.
If you RSVP to a Facebook Event on Waze, directions will appear 48 hours prior to the event. If there is no address listed in the event, other guests can input the correct address. Waze will also show you the locations and timing of your friends who have RSVP’d to the event, allowing you to track their progress. (You don't want to arrive too early, do you?)
"One-tap navigation to Facebook Events is only the start… drivers will enjoy much more in upcoming versions soon," promised Yael Elish, VP of product and marketing at Waze in a press release.
Maybe There Is Something To This Social Driving Thing
I was a bit skeptical. Social driving could not be a good thing, I thought. Paying attention to you smartphone while driving could be bad for your health. Waze looked interesting, but not the type of app that would capture millions of users and have to fend off billion-dollar acquisition offers (or, at least rumors of those offers) from the likes of Apple, Google and Facebook.When I first mentioned Waze on ReadWrite,
I was wrong.
Waze now has 49 million users, its crowd-sourced maps technology is in high demand and many people are addicted to it. Social driving can save you time, keep you out of accidents and reduce the risk of being pulled over for speeding. And now it can lead you easily to Facebook Events.
The Facebook Connection
Recent rumors had speculated that Waze would be acquired by Facebook for $1 billion. Talks have apparently broken off as most of the Israel-based Waze team didn’t want to move to Facebook’s Menlo Park, Calif. campus. (Waze also has an office in Palo Alto, Calif.).
Still, except for the whopping price tag, the acquisition would have made a lot of sense.
All of biggest consumer technology companies have some type of mapping technology. Apple and Google make their own maps. Microsoft teams with Nokia for its maps and Amazon also licenses maps from Nokia for its Kindle Fire tablets. Facebook has nothing in its technology stack for navigation or location (it does integrate some Google Maps for addresses).
Waze would have been a complimentary piece to Facebook's developer tools as well as a boon to its core platform (for things like Facebook Events, as today's recent Waze update shows). Facebook has gone out of its way to give developers more tools to build on its platform, naming a series of preferred technology partners and buying mobile cloud services company Parse. The ability to add a software developer kit (SDK) for maps through Waze straight into Facebook’s platform would have been a real boon to the social giant’s app ecosystem.
If Facebook cannot close the deal, Waze becomes a tantalizing fruit to be plucked by one of its rivals. That would be a shame for Facebook. As Waze has shown with its Facebook Event integration, the two might have made brilliant partners.