It is not often that you think about social media when considering how you would get from point A to point B but with Waze, you’re doing just that. This nifty little app takes everything that’s good about Google Maps and makes it even better and it’s the little features that make it stand out from everyone else.
What is Waze?
Waze was purchased by Google way back in 2013 and over the years, some of the special features that Waze introduced (traffic alerts and automatic redirection to name two) have been rolled into the Google app. However, the key differentiator from the early days of Waze and one that still prevails today is its user interface.
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
👍🏻 The good
- It’s free
- Real-time traffic updates
- Facebook integration
- Alerts and warnings
👎🏻 The bad
- Useful only for driving
The ability for users of the app to share updates with a one to two button presses is singular and unique. With Waze, traffic alerts, police, hazards and even updates about stopped cars are provided by other “Wazers” and it is this social interaction that makes this a standout app in my eyes. Due to the updates provided by other drivers on your route, Waze is faster at providing alerts and can redirect traffic significantly quicker when compared to other apps.
Waze has a website, but its real strength is the app available for both Android and iOS at the links below.
Pros and Cons
- Its Free
- Automatic redirection based on changing traffic conditions & over time, Waze learns your preferred routes
- Automatically saves your parking spot, without having to manually do this like on Google Maps
- Real time traffic updates – much faster than other apps, and significantly faster than local radio news stations!
- Alerts about hazards on the road (potholes, stopped cars, police etc.) can quite literally save your life!
- Gas prices updated in real time and the app can be customized to show you your favorite stations.
- Facebook integration built in & automatic syncing if you change devices
- Ability to change the “voice” of the app – not only can you get C3PO as your navigator, the boys from Top Gear are available too!
- Red light camera and speed camera alerts are built in and with a quick glance at the screen you can see your speed and make the necessary adjustments
- Spotify integration directly into the app – this is a great option for those long commutes!
- Android Auto integration is also now available and it makes this a great option from the stock Maps app as Waze retains preferences with regards to toll roads – something missing from Google Maps.
- The biggest cons are probably the ads – these only show up when you come to a stop and only on a smartphone (they don’t clutter the screen on Android Auto) so they aren’t too annoying, but it is definitely a con.
- Really only useful when driving. If cycling, walking or taking public transit, Google Maps is still a better option.
Waze similar to other navigation applications provides a route from A to B, but the difference with Waze is not only its social features but also the fact that Waze constantly monitors your journey and redirects you based on changing traffic conditions.
Google Maps is the go to mapping application for millions of users around the world; however, many of its features are actually enhanced by Waze. The acquisition in 2013 did not end up integrating the two map apps, and all reports from Google to date, state that they will leave Waze alone.
If you drive anywhere regularly this is great news as Waze is one of the best tools currently on the market. Its social features help it stand out from the crowd and Waze is just so much fun to use!
Some Tips and Tricks
- Save your important locations like work and home. Waze will automatically suggest these to based on your patterns and it saves you time!
- Go through the host of options and settings available to personalize it for your needs. There is a difference between the shortest route and fastest route as Waze takes into account real time traffic conditions so it might sometimes send you a way you wouldn’t expect.
- Select your preferred Gas Station so that when searching, Waze sends you there first if its closest. After all, there is no point in giving away those points you were trying to collect!
- Change the navigation voice – it’s easy and fun and can give you a good chuckle at times!
- Set the app up to automatically alert you if you’re exceeding the speed limit.
Google Maps is hard to beat, but in terms of driving navigation, Waze has done it. It’s a fun and easy to use app that offers many things not available elsewhere. Considering that all of this is available at no cost, is something that is truly outstanding and its millions of users seem to agree with me!