Waze is a company to watch. They are based in Israel and are launching their US service today at DEMO. I heard about Waze last week when I had drinks with some Israeli people (thanks for mentioning Tal).
Waze is the number one traffic resource in Israel, by providing real time information about traffic jams to your cell phone. This information is gathered from the community. Waze tracks the geo location of its users and aggregates that data to come up with road maps and provide real time traffic info to commuters.
Oh and that’s not all; Waze provides turn-by-turn navigation and is free of charge. So if you live in the US and go to work by car often, get Waze now.
How it works:
Waze is available as of now in the US (unfortunately not in Europe) for the iPhone, Android, Symbian and windows mobile phones. The latter two are released today in alpha.
Chicken and Egg
As many startups Waze has a typical catch 22 problem. It needs to get a critical mass to provide a great service and it needs a great service to get a critical mass, but in Israel they pulled it off (20% of all smartphones have it installed). For a service like this you don’t need to have the whole market for it to work. A small percentage could be enough to make accurate predictions.
I’m jealous at all US and Israeli users. I want Waze on my iPhone too!
More to come on DEMO startups today. Stay tuned!
Update: Markus asked some questions in the comments, I went over to Waze and put a camera in front of him: