Google Maps Steals Waze's Thunder With Incident Reporting

Something interesting is going on with Google Maps regarding a “new” feature. Some people are claiming they have had this feature for a long time, others are seeing it for the first time. The feature in question is incident reporting, something that has made navigation app Waze popular with users. Google has long had traffic information integrated, but data on road work and closures hasn't been part of the app for most users.

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While some users are claiming, according to reports, to have had incident reporting for a year or more, others haven’t had it at all. I personally use Google Maps in the Colorado Springs/Denver areas all the time and haven’t had incident reporting on my updated iOS app and the number of incidents and construction delays along the I25 corridor is legion. The interesting part about this confirmation of incident reporting rolling out to more users is that the implementation is very Waze-like (Google owns Waze).

It's easy to assume that this is simply the Waze crowd-sourced information for drivers running the app integrated with Google Maps. It does appear from screenshots that have surfaced of the new feature that Google is crowdsourcing information on incidents and closures from Google Maps users. The screenshots show notifications asking if the incidents are ongoing with simple yes/no/unsure options to tap.

Reports indicate that source code in Maps also hints that the feature could be used to warn of crashes, cameras, and speed traps as well. There is no indication of when the feature might roll out to all users. Google Maps is finally getting the widespread rollout of the new Material Design update. That rollout started last week and will come to everyone shortly.