Waze Evoking Craze - Morgan Freeman's Voice To Be Used For Navigation And Plans To Partner With Indian Startups This Google's free navigation app is creating a buzz around the world and here's why.

By Ritu Kochar

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Where am I going? Is the right direction for me?

These are some of the questions we tend to ask ourselves from time to time. Though the answers we receive are often ambiguous, but not anymore. Now we have the man with the voice of God himself to guide when choosing a path. Literally, not metaphorically. And it takes no guesses to know that the man is none other than Morgan Freeman himself.

Google's free navigation app, Waze, will now give its users the option to choose Morgan Freeman as navigation voice. Morgan's iconic voice has always been a popular subject. The magical place we call Internet once raised an opinion that Freeman should recite every word in the dictionary so that when he dies we can still make documentaries using his voice. Keeping the extremity of his fandom in mind, the current revelation of him voicing a navigation app is delightful.

Entertainment Weekly reported that his inclusion as an optional Waze voice is a marketing tie-in for his latest film, the disaster-adventure London has Fallen, set to debut March 4. In the app, the voice of Morgan Freeman will address the driver as if they are the president. The aim is to give the driver a chance to role play while driving, where the traffic and other things happening on the road is a matter of national concern and caused by terrorists. The time period of this option is limited, so you know what they say, "gather ye voices while you may'.

In the past, this Israel based app had used voices of Elvis, Kevin Hart and Arnold Schwarzenegger as navigation voice. Freeman being the latest one is a welcome change and a comparatively soothing voice when compared to The Terminator himself.

Waze in India

A report in The Economic Times stated that Waze is "exploring' tie-ups in India with local startups. They are also planning to launch their own cab-ride sharing program by the name Waze Rider in the international markets, given they are successful in home market Israel. Bought by Google in 2013 for a whooping sum of US$ 1.3 billion, Waze is considering Ola and Flipkart to partner in India and expand their business, said a top Waze executive. "We're just reaching out to the market — so, Ola is one of the partners that I'm trying to meet here, we're also meeting Flipkart and we'll see how we can work together. Obviously we can provide a lot of value for free in a very nice way," said Amir Mirzaee at Surge, who heads commerce and ads business development across Europe, Middle East and Africa for Waze.

Waze is currently working on improving the accuracy of mapping and navigation products in India, but an Indian team is yet to be placed. When asked about their plan for going global and increasing the team, Mirzaee said, "We try to stay small — that is specifically (CEO) Noam's (Bardin) approach. We try to stay small and nimble and then move fast. The reason why Google has a big outfit here is because manual work needs to be done. But we have over 300,000 map editors worldwide that do this job — we don't need to artificially put a centre somewhere."

Wavy Line
Ritu Kochar

Former Staff, Entrepreneur India

Ritu used to work as a Feature writer for Entrepreneur India.

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