Inrix has been on a serious roll lately. And the Kirkland company just scored yet another big deal, winning a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract to provide real-time traffic data to Google’s navigation and mapping properties.

“It is obviously a very big win for Inrix in terms of providing data to the premier search provider on the Internet at this point,” Inrix CEO Bryan Mistele tells GeekWire. “The daily commute just got a lot easier for millions of Google users across the world.”

As of today, Mistele said the data is available in eight countries and they will be expanding to new geographies over time. Previously, Google had put together its own traffic data through publicly available sources.

“We are providing them much broader coverage and much better accuracy then what they have had available,” said Mistele, adding that Inrix operates the largest crowd-sourced data network in the world tapping into some 30 million GPS and smartphone devices.

The traffic data will now appear on Google Maps as well s Google’s mobile navigation applications. Mistele said that Inrix is simply providing the data, and it is up to Google in terms of how it is displayed.

Bryan Mistele

He’s hopeful that some of Inrix’s more advanced features — such as providing accurate estimated time of arrivals or fuel price data — will eventually make its way into other Google products.

The current implementation has taken less than 45 days to implement on Google.

Interestingly, Inrix spun out of Microsoft about seven years ago and Mistele is the former general manager of Microsoft’s automotive group. Microsoft still receives royalties from Inrix, though those payments are expected to expire next year.

Inrix provides some traffic data to Bing’s voice portal, but not to the main search engine property. “We’d love to see them join the portfolio of customers,” said Mistele when asked about the Bing search engine.

The news follows Inrix’s recent purchase of European rival ITIS Holdings and a $37 million venture capital round led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Inrix has more than 200 customers, including navigation providers like Garmin, automobile manufacturers like BMW and Internet mapping companies like MapQuest. It employs 275 people worldwide.

Related: In other news today, Inrix said that it has added several new features to its Inrix Traffic App for Windows Phone.  Those include Live Tiles which allow users to save traffic map views around selected chokepoints and  deeper integration with Bing Search. More in the press release.

UPDATE: Google provided this statement in relation to the Inrix deal.

Google is committed to providing our users with the richest, most up-to-date maps possible, including live traffic updates. The traffic data on Google Maps comes from a variety of sources, including government departments of transportation, private data providers, and users of Google Maps for mobile who contribute anonymous speed information through our traffic crowdsourcing feature. (For more information, check out our Crowdsourcing blog post.).

John Cook is co-founder of GeekWire. On Twitter: @geekwirenews and Facebook.

Comments

  • Anonymous

    I don’t understand this deal at all.  Google can crowd-source better than than anyone. All those phones running GMaps are reporting back to the mother ship.  Using GMaps on my phone, I see traffic on a huge number of roads.  And the nav component has always been very accurate. 

    What’s the real value to Google?  Patents? Road database?  The article says real-time data but I don’t see it.

    • Bryan Mistele

      It turns out, doing traffic data well is hard. Traffic is about more than just averaging speeds and coloring road segments on a map.  It’s about analyzing road sensor information, road closures, accidents, construction, events and speed data together to analyze what’s really happening across a road network in context. 
      INRIX operates the largest crowd-sourced traffic network in the world, now gathering information from GPS-based devices and cellular carriers as well as from our exclusive network of tens of thousands of traffic reporters who reporting accidents, speed traps and other information to us every day.  We have more than 275 employees dedicated to providing the best traffic today in over 30 countries around the world, which is what uniquely differentiates INRIX and the data we provide.

      • http://www.twitter.com/danprobinson Dan Robinson

        Great response

      • Anonymous

        OK.  that makes sense, especially accidents and closures.  I appreciate the road sensor data stuff but doesn’t a cell phone (with mapping sw) reporting location every 30 seconds or so blow that away?  I’d bet the noise in the data stream can be a big issue.

        If you guys could model the system and predict traffic jams 15 minutes from now, that would be huge. 

        • Bryan Mistele

          Turns out, that’s exactly what we do.  Most of our data comes from cell phones and vehicles reporting every 30 seconds to a minute. 

          Regarding predictions, download INRIX Traffic for free on your iPhone, Android, Blackberry or WinMo device and you can scroll ahead in time to take advantage of our traffic predictions not just 15 minutes from now, but an hour a day or a week!

          • Chris

            Does this deal mean that INRIX gets access to the Google crowd sourced data as well?

          • Fedup

            Inrix is useless on Android devices.  Developer has been promising an upgrade to match iPhone features for a year and a half and has not delivered.  Just removed Inrix from phone.  Maybe one day the clowns at Inrix will recognize there are a lot more Android phones than iPhones out there.

          • Kevin Foreman

            Hi Fedup, sorry we let you down. I’m that clown you refer to, I guess. Rest assured we recognize that drivers have a multitude of smartphones, include Android. Many of our 150 million drivers use android devices and most seemingly pleased with the experience.

            If you have specific feature requests, we would love to hear them at mobilefeedback@inrix.com.

            Kevin

            Kevin Foreman, VP, Mobile Applications
            INRIX, Inc.

  • http://twitter.com/B_Frei Brent Frei

    World class deal Bryan.   Huge kudos to you and the team.  

    – Brent Frei

  • http://www.facebook.com/chuck.goolsbee Chuck Goolsbee

    Congrats to the good folks at Inrix! Well done.

  • http://www.google-directions.com Rick

    Google Maps is hands down the best online mapping software, I don’t even want to make any suggestions.

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