Doing the Waze
Before the acquisition of Waze in 2013 by Google, Waze was one of the fastest and accurate navigation apps you could get and had over 50 million users. This still remains true for the most part, obviously Google has incorporated most of what made Waze unique and popular to their very own Google Maps, but this doesn’t mean that the app is vaporware.
Actually, Waze is still a pretty good navigation app and still holds well to this day for those who is looking for an amazing navigation app that can help you dodge traffic and get to your destination the fastest way. With its dedicated drivers using the app to report traffic in areas. To their amazing software where you can run this app in the background while you are driving which, simultaneously, allows the system to collect data of your speed, stops, and amount of time waiting at stops.
The Waze team constantly improve their algorithm to improve everyone’s overall experience with the app, so the app can keep its independence as a usable standalone app.
How does it work?
In a word Waze is highly community driven, the users of Waze helps the app improve its traffic and its algorithm. It’s simple to get Waze to work, all you have to do is turn the app on and on the fly you have full navigation of almost any place on the map. Waze collects the data of other Wazers driving routes and uses this data to improve the statistics of average driving time and distance. This gives you the benefit of knowing where to go and the fastest routes possible based on others navigation of that particular route. Not only will this give you the information to the fastest routes possible you will also get information on traffic jams, police, and closed routes that you come across.
Waze highly recommends for you to have the app on anytime you drive, even when you’re not using it, this is Waze bread and butter; this is how they operate and recommend routes to Wazers. With this data, this also allows them to locate cheap gas in your area or local food shops with high ratings. Now, this can cut into your cellular data depending on how long your car drive is and how long it’s activated.
You will also get the speed you’re going, the time you will get there, and short-cuts to your destination. And when starting up your route, you have 10 seconds to confirm that this is your destination and this give you time to cancel it if entered incorrectly. Sadly, Waze is only made for private cars, so if you would want to travel using bike lanes only it won’t show; walking may work but use it at your own risk. Waze algorithms doesn’t recognizes sidewalks, slow moving vehicle lanes, or trails.
The UI is pretty neat and organized and keeps everything in one place where it’s needed. It’s smooth very reminiscent to Google Maps (obviously) with small differences between Google Maps, but let us say this, you will know that Waze is now owned by Google (it has a Google fell to it). Everything is highlighted on your map with the corresponding symbol as in traffic lights look like a traffic light on your map and highway routes look like a highway route.
Your UI also have symbols for restrictions as of car accidents, traffic jams, and slow moving traffic. Running the app is a breeze, and it has a toggle able night and day mode which is helpful on bad weather days. And if you make a wrong turn it re-calibrates quickly and will warn you about your wrong turn and will likely tell you to make a U-turn when you can, or it will adapt to your new route.
In addition, Waze accept voice commands which works surprisingly well. You will rarely have to repeat your directions and if you do the system rarely fail 3 times in a row: in case you have an extremely indistinguishable accent. Overall, the user interface is beautiful and the voice software works beautifully.
The smart and unique design brings Waze up to the competition of Apple Maps. Even though this wouldn’t be a great substitute for Google maps, it’s still an amazing app for those who would prefer something else. It still stands strong as a standalone app and Google’s ownership of the company hasn’t taken a huge impact on its outstandingly smart algorithm and intelligent navigation. Its data driven, community based software works like magic and no matter the circumstances or the complexity of the road the fastest route will always show.
There are no differences between the iPhone version and Android version.
There are no pedestrian, bicycle, or slow moving truck directions. At times, the icons can be hard to distinguish, and at areas with large amount of traffic icons it can make it hard to read.
There are no differences between the Android version. But one problem I found is that the iPhone version of the app tends to be a at gathering directions. In my opinion, I think this is purposely done so more Apple users can use Apple Maps instead.
Ride the Waze
So should you use Waze? There are much better options now compared to Waze, and any navigation app that isn’t Google Maps or Apple Maps isn’t really taken seriously. But that doesn’t take away the fact that Waze still holds its own identity. The community driven app is still unique and outstanding. Its crowd-sourced data and its amazing algorithms that collects data from your frequent drives; this app is still a great investment of your time.