Even though Google Maps seems to be better, loads faster, and shows drivers alternate routes to reach their destination faster; Waze on the other hand, lets drivers give a warning about where road hazards and police speed traps are located.
People often agree that even though they don’t intend to break the law while driving, they still want to know where the police are. Google owns Waze, and many users of the two apps have wondered why they weren’t both just combined into one.
However, Google made an announcement about the next best thing last week. Drivers using Google Maps will immediately be able to make in-app reports about slowdowns from traffic etc., hazards, and police speed traps.
These features were already released for some Android phones, but now it is also available on iOS.
There are some police officers who aren’t fans of the new feature. Police in recent years have asked or gone as far as to demand that Waze get rid of its police locator feature.
Back in February, the NYPD sent a letter to Google and wrote:
“The NYPD has become aware that the Waze Mobile application … currently permits the public to report DWI checkpoints throughout New York City and map these locations. Accordingly, we demand that Google LLC, upon receipt of this letter, immediately remove this function from the Waze application.”
“Further, the NYPD requests that Google take every necessary precaution to ensure that GPS data of NYPD DWI checkpoints, or any other substantially similar data, is not uploaded or posted at a future time on the Waze Mobile application, google.com, Google maps, or any other associated internet/websites, or web portals and platforms under Google LLC’s, its partners’ sponsors’ or affiliates’ control.”
However, the feature in Waze, and we can presume the new Google Maps version, doesn’t reveal if the police locations are a DWI checkpoint, a speed trap, or if the patrol vehicle is simply parked aside the road.
In 2015 the National Sheriff’s Association wrote that, “There is no moral, ethical, or legal reason to have the police locator button on the app.”
“We are concerned that terrorists, organized crime groups, and gangs will find this a valuable tool to further their illegal activities.”
Google always gave the usual response and said that drivers slow their vehicles down and are strict at obeying the law when they’re aware there’s law enforcement near them.
It isn’t difficult for someone to make the suggestion to “follow the money” for a reason law enforcement is against drivers notifying each other about where speed traps are set up by police.
Mostly police departments would deny there’s any kind of link to revenue, or that there’s a quota for the amount of tickets an officer has to write or the number of arrests they should make.
Although, there may be another reason to “follow the money.”
Apple gave an announcement about an extensive update to its Maps app earlier in the month. Apple views the update as a big milestone, seeing as how Apple has long admitted its Maps app was pretty bad, and even encouraged users to go with Google Maps instead of its own.
Even though Apple got back into the driving apps game, Google introduced a widely popular feature that users have been asking to get for some time, and only weeks after Apple’s Map update.
The new Google Maps feature looks to potentially be a win for Google and its app users, but potentially police who are against it are taking a loss.