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Google Maps may be getting Waze’s best feature: incident reporting

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Live traffic status provided by users

Image: Google Maps via Android Police

Waze’s incident reporting feature looks to be coming to Google Maps, as some users have spotted on their Android apps. The feature shows road work, the time an accident was reported, and whether a user is confident a slowdown is still active.

Incident reporting on Waze, the navigation app Google acquired five years ago, lets users report road closures, accidents, police cars, and other traffic problems. In an earlier Google Maps APK teardown, Android Police spotted the feature two weeks ago and now it appears to be rolling out to users. It’s not clear if the feature is just a test or whether it will become permanent and available to all Android users in the next update. Google confirmed to The Verge that the feature has been live for several months on Android.

Though both mapping apps are owned by the same company, many drivers prefer using Waze because the incident reporting feature is accurate and timely. But the two apps shouldn’t clash with each other too hard in terms of fighting for users; Waze is specifically designed for drivers, while Google Maps is used for walking, public transit, and biking directions in addition to searches for local business information and recommendations.

Last month, Google’s in-house start-up incubator Area 120 made a Waze-like competitor for the New York City subway system that similarly lets users report delays and accidents. Since the app was launched, a fair amount of people started to actively report incidents (529 people today so far, as of this writing), indicating that people might be willing to flag traffic problems on any app and not just Waze.

Update June 29th, 1:50 PM ET: This article has been updated with confirmation from Google.