Waze directs drivers to Facebook events

In the latest update, the navigation app hooks up with Facebook to map social networkers to their events.

Noam Bardin, CEO of Waze, talks up the company's location-based advertising during an April talk at AllThingsD's mobile conference. CNET/Marguerite Reardon

Waze has updated its iPhone and Android applications to provide people with a single-tap, no-address-input way to route themselves to the events that they've RSVP'd in the affirmative to on Facebook.

The release, which highlights exactly how the social network can add real-life value to maps, tailgates the news that the companies have reportedly walked away from acquisition talks .

Waze now helps you navigate to upcoming Facebook events. Waze

Five-year-old Waze makes a people-powered navigation application and is used by 49 million people in 193 countries. The startup, which likens its service to a search engine for smartphone owners , specializes in routing drivers around traffic and hazards, and incorporates friends in the process of getting from point A to point B.

In version 3.7, released Thursday, Waze hooks deeper into Facebook to get event-goers where they need to be and provide additional social context, such as which of their friends are also en route, along the way. Members signed into Waze via Facebook will see events that they've RSVP'd "Yes" to in the "Navigate" section of the app. Waze pulls in the event location from Facebook, which means users need only tap the event to generate driving directions.

The addition of Facebook events means that application users can also view on the map which of their party pals are in transit to the same location and approximately at what time they'll arrive. The extra details should prove handy when carpooling, or when you'd just like to make sure your grand entrance is after a certain somebody shows up.

"This is far more efficient and safer instead of texting or calling to find out where people are," Yael Elish, vice president of product and marketing at Waze, told CNET. "We see driving patterns every day, and we're always thinking of ways to improve the driving experience."

The new version also expands on Waze's nascent attempts to monetize its map with local offers, a.k.a. ads offering deals from sponsors in your vicinity. Drivers should find the pop-up notifications to be a little better looking, and they can now swipe through all nearby deals when parked or stopped at an intersection.

A Waze spokesperson would not elaborate on the company's clearly complicated relationship with Facebook, but said that the startup maintains an ongoing liaison with the social network.

 

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