Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Maps Are for Mobile What Search Is for the Web, Says Waze CEO Noam Bardin (Video)

Of course the CEO of a mobile mapping company is going to say maps are super important. But Waze CEO Noam Bardin has an interesting way of putting it.

“What search is for the Web, maps are for mobile,” Bardin said at our D: Dive Into Mobile conference last week.

The latitude and longitude of a location, he argued, are the equivalent of the URL for a Web page.

Doing maps well is quite hard, as demonstrated by Apple’s troubled iOS mapping app launch last year. People really, really don’t like it when their maps are wrong — and rightly so.

Bardin argued that crowdsourcing is the cheapest and most effective way to keep maps up to date, as well as provide real-time navigation. Waze’s 44 million users, who both actively and passively contribute to its maps, are its biggest weapon versus market leader Google and its infinite wallet.

Bardin also mapped out an interesting theory of “meta operating systems” for mobile phones. Where Apple and Samsung want to build fully integrated platforms, other players like Google, Facebook and Waze are building apps that reach across all sorts of different phones.

But then, where Google is building nearly every sort of app, and Facebook is increasingly extending its tentacles with Facebook Home, Waze is still just a mapping app.

So, what about those acquisition rumors? Is Waze preparing itself to be a strategic asset of some larger company? You’ll want to watch the video to see Bardin’s answer, where he’s unusually willing to not rule out a sale.

Also in the interview, Bardin discussed advertising on Waze, relations with Google and Apple, and recent legal threats to using phones in cars:

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