Google has been very passive after the Waze acquisition, dropping $1.2 billion into the Israeli navigation and traffic startup. Plenty seen this as a way for Google to remove competition from Maps, but it looks like they will continue to integrate Waze’s technologies into their other services alongside Maps.
The newest update onto Google Now gives traffic notifications when on the road, suggesting alternate routes for drivers. It is quite odd that Google would offer traffic directions on the road, but since Waze has voice recognition and activation, it can be used hands-free by people driving.
Users who frequently use Google Search to find updates on locations and navigation will start seeing these notifications a lot more when plotting their routes, if there is normally a lot of traffic in the route and may shown divert routes to take, if there is any available.
We are not sure if Google Now users will be able to get these through contextual information, it appears the algorithm only works if users actually type into the Google Search app their route or the destination, allowing Waze to figure out where they are going and supply updates on traffic.
This is the first time we have seen integration on Google Now with Waze, previously Google Now would offer Maps cards showing where you are and the time it would take to get it a place you frequent, simply by setting different places as Home, School, Work, etc.
In the recent update Google Now was also announced for Chrome desktop browser, allowing people to check out their cards and update their information on desktop.