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Crowd-funding: we really are all in this together

A couple of weeks ago, Google made headlines with the $1bn (£662m) acquisition of Waze, a crowd-sourced traffic app which uses data from its users to transmit real-time information about roads and traffic. Waze has around 15m users who contribute information via the app, which then provides instant data. The business is “pre-revenue”, but is in the early stages of linking its mapping to advertisers to create a fully interactive service. Google reportedly beat off competition from both Apple and Facebook to acquire the Israeli start-up. What struck me about this deal was that Google has spent billions of dollars on its Street View mapping programme. Yet it still saw significant incremental benefit from the type of data that Waze’s users are generating. A major failing of Apple Maps was that it didn’t have the critical mass of user data to provide accurate and detailed information. Waze’s crowd-sourced solution seems to represent a threshold moment in our development of collaborative consumption. The potential power of collaboration through technology has long been talked about as something that can fundamentally alter long-held norms within developed economies. Now some of the signs from successful players harnessing the benefits of crowd-sourcing and collaboration are […]

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