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Waze opens Android closed beta testing program offering “awesome swag” to participants

Waze has opened up an Android beta testing program to test new features before they are fully implemented into the mapping service.

Related: Google unleashes feature-laden Maps for Android, coming to iOS soon

The Google-owned social mapping startup is inviting Android device owners to join the closed beta program through a sign up page with the low requirements meaning that many every day users will be able to join up.

A post on the firm’s forum explained that devices only need to have Android 2.2 Froyo or above installed with a screen resolution of 320 x 480 or more as well as technical sense, ability to provide feedback in English and the motivation to actively participate and respond.

Those that choose to take part will get access to the latest version of Waze before anyone else and the Israeli-based startup promises the “chance to win some awesome swag”.

Google coughed up a reported $1.1 billion [£716 million] when it bought Waze mid-way through 2013 for an app that already topped over 20 million users in its first four years to mid-2012.

Shortly after the deal was signed the US Federal Trade Commission [FTC] contacted Google about the transaction with rumours that an official antitrust review into the deal would be carried out. This was rumoured to relate to whether Google acquired to prevent its competitors, such as Facebook, from doing so as well as to stop what could eventually become a major rival to Google Maps.

It was later revealed that no such case was ever lodged by the FTC, as it didn’t have any concerns the transaction would stifle competition.

Related: A look back at Google in 2013: Barges, privacy concerns, and Google Glass

Both Waze and Google Maps share certain features with one another including traffic reports from Waze users being included in Google Maps and Google Search as well as Street View and satellite images from Google Maps finding a way into Waze.