The news that Facebook is considering a $1 billion acquisition of Waze seems like an obvious move but it also brings me back to a few ideas I had previously considered.
Location is becoming increasingly important with "local" being vital for marketing, advertising and targeting as separate from the global, social conversation. Facebook changed the importance of location in social by killing the check-in and making location integral to everything we do so having access to crowd-sourced data from Waze will take this to another level.
Apple and Facebook
As Waze is one of the suppliers of data for Apple's Maps application any acquisition would add a new dynamic to the relationship between Apple and Facebook; it also makes me wonder about deeper integration between the two companies.
We now have a collective of apps and services which could complement each other rather well:
- Apple Maps,
- Waze, and
Bringing it all together
The recent launch of Facebook Home with its ever-present "chat heads" highlighted the more closed nature of iOS but made me ponder how Apple could introduce a similar native UI (a radical departure, admittedly) and integrate Facebook messaging along with iMessage and SMS. A native solution could mean Chat Head like functionality but without the need to change third-party app permissions within the operating system.
While we're thinking a little radically what about integrating Facebook's Graph Search with Spotlight to add a social element to iOS search?
In a previous post I suggested how Apple Maps could use shared photostreams to boost their Maps application with crowd sourced images of locations as a way of combating Google Street View in a social way. With Facebook buying Waze the potential exists for Apple and Facebook to really jump in bed together so that a range of Facebook data could be used within Apple Maps.
Forget the added layer of complexity and permissions required to enable shared public photostreams when people are already sharing pictures socially.
By combining location information and sharing permissions, geo-tagged photos from either Facebook or Instagram (or those specifically tied to a location such as a landmark) could be displayed within the Maps application. Additional context specific data from Waze could be used to display different images or information based on current circumstances using the type of crowd-sourced data already obtained by the service.
How far is too far?
It is obvious that Apple sees Facebook as a leader in the social sphere and integration of the latter into iOS has evolved over time. Apple does not do services as well as the likes of Google - hence the need to rely on the likes of Waze and Tom Tom - but how far will the company go in allowing itself to be reliant on third-party data?
iOS may never get Facebook Home but a deeper underlying integration with the social giant may be of much greater value.
Image by .reid.