Waze has partnered with movie studios to feature celebrity voices in navigation prompts. This move benefits studios in promoting upcoming films, helps Waze get additional revenue streams and should delight fans who can’t get enough of their favorite celebrities.
Waze is a crowd-sourced mapping and navigation application that combines the advantages of getting contributions from users, plus its own algorithms for determining traffic situations around the world.
Waze benefits from a growing user-base, since its traffic algorithms get better as more users get onboard. Originating from Tel Aviv, Israel, waze now has more than 50 million users, and the company had been acquired by Google for a reported $1.3 billion just this June (the actual amount was confirmed to be $966 million).
Waze has evolved quickly from its open source roots in Israel and is now exploring partnerships for monetizing its technology. The company has initially launched a location-based advertising model for companies that wish to push their brands or messages to approaching motorists or Waze users who search for the relevant keywords and areas.
Just recently, Waze entered into partnership with Universal Pictures to incorporate voice prompts from celebrities as part of promotions for one of the studio’s latest films. Comedian and actor Kevin Hart, who will appear in an upcoming movie with Ice Cube called Ride Along, has signed on to be the first celebrity to lend his voice to the crowd-sourced mapping and navigation app.
For Universal Pictures, this partnership gives the movie added exposure to Waze’s international user base of about 50 million drivers and mobile users. The fact that the storyline of Ride Along involves driving around town as part of a police patrol is quite apt for Waze, being a navigation app. Meanwhile, such partnerships are just one way by which Waze can monetize its app and add a bit of excitement to the user experience.
Users can switch to Hart’s voice by navigating to Settings, Sound, then selecting “English – Ride Along” as the prompt language.