Waze: Community GPS Navigation
Mar 3, 2010 12:50 PM –
Waze’s cool navigation app brings you to the intersection of where geogaming meets crowdsourced traffic info and real-time live maps. Waze is a social mobile application providing free turn-by-turn navigation based on the live conditions of the road.
AndroidTapp.com Android App Review:
Pros & Cons:
- Ingenious idea!
- Crowd sources real-time mapping components
- Better for daily driving which makes it interesting and fun with games and social components
- Some user experience flaws regarding driver distraction and driving safety
- Not well valued in areas where there are not many Wazers
- GPS Navigation routing could use improvements
- User experience and user interface needs improvements
- No voice recognition destination search
Waze Android App uses an interesting idea of “crowd sourcing” drivers’ daily activity to give the community real-time updates plus provide GPS navigation for smartphones. The Waze experience varies depending on the saturation within the market. For example in Chicago there are not many Wazers surprisingly (Wazers are users of the Waze app), therefore the experience was labeled as “Beginner” and you do not get the full experience of the app. However in places like San Francisco the experience is much better, thus you begin to reap the full benefits of the application.
Waze is on to something quite ingenious by crowd sourcing real-time mapping components; meaning as more people use it the data is in real time to determine things like traffic, accidents, speed traps, temporary road closures, or construction re-routes to help you save time reaching your destination.
However there is a glaring safety concerns with driver distraction while using an app like this. For example, the new gaming component added to Waze keeps the app interesting yet also keeps more of your attention on mobile phone rather than on your road. By default some of the notifications do not auto hide therefore you have to manually tap them to remove them causing further distraction.
Also in many attempts at using Waze specifically for the GPS navigation capabilities it offered inadequate routes. In my experience I would rank it worse than Google Maps Navigation which tends to take the longer route or take you to do wrong destination altogether. The navigation voice over quality is superb, the speaker sounds natural, casual and not robotic.
Video: Waze Community GPS Navigation
Waze Start Screen
Waze Drive To Navigation
Waze Navigation (Taking Longer Route)
Waze Report Event
Waze Live Info Events
Waze Update Map
Waze Settings Menu
For drivers in areas where Waze has great saturation it can be quite useful. Other use cases may include areas or roads that may have not been mapped by larger map data providers, this empowers users the ability to document those roads and conditions.
Ease of Use:
The easiest way to get started Waze is simply to activate it while driving. Want to start to understand the point system this may encourage more active involvement with the app as the company are getting out incentives for the more points you are. See their blog for more details.
Gripe Alert: I highly recommend setting navigation routes prior to driving as those features are difficult to control and could use some user experience improvement. For example voice recognition destination search should be implemented within the app.
This is one of those apps where the more you use it… the more your local community uses it… the better it becomes and the more benefits it offers.
The theme has a rather juvenile element to it. There are some elements that are not intuitive and normally discoverable while actually driving like points and alerts on the map.