Google's Waze Navigation App Accused of Stealing Data from Rival

By James O Malley on at

Navigation app Waze has been on the receiving end of accusations by PhantomAlert, which alleges that before the company was bought by Google in 2013, the company had pinched traffic data from its rival app.

Digital Trends reports that PhantomAlert says that Waze "copied PhantomAlert’s proprietary database without permission and incorporated that misappropriated data into Waze's popular iPhone and Android navigation apps."

The premise behind Waze is that it relies on crowd-gathered traffic data, enabling users who have the app downloaded to submit reports of traffic, roadworks, speed cameras and other information that might be useful to others behind the wheel.

PhantomAlert says that it caught Waze out by using a tried and tested trick that has been used by map makers since maps were invented: Fake data. Like how some maps have fake streets or even entire towns to expose anyone who copies the map, PhantomAlert had fake points of interest in its database. These later started showing up on Waze and after the Google acquisition, on other Google products too.

The company has this feel filed a lawsuit in San Francisco - and given that Waze was bought for $1.3bn, clearly the rivals are hoping for a slice of that lucrative pie. [Digital Trends]