When Google purchased Waze a few years ago, people thought it would just be integrated into Google Maps. And yet, that didn’t happen. Waze has been doing its own thing, improving with each passing day. Though it incorporates certain attributes from the leading GPS solution, Waze still uses social features to outsmart Google Maps, CoPilot GPS, Komoot, and other competitors.
A fun way to get updates for the road
A power-packed app with real-time updates, social features, and an intuitive interface
With Google as the parent company, Waze has received several navigation upgrades. It can also access Google’s (parent company) huge database of businesses to provide comprehensive search results.
When you open up the app, the on-screen map of the location shows nearby ‘Wazers’. You get accident, traffic, police, and construction alerts. Unlike other GPS apps, Waze lets you choose between 3D and 2D imaging for maps. While avoiding freeways and toll roads is a pretty common feature in most GPS solutions, Waze also lets you choose dirt roads to avoid traffic.
You’ll need to drive at least 100 miles before this app will stop considering you as a beginner. Just to drive the message home (no pun intended), the profile icon displays a pacifier until you level up. It might seem annoying at first, but once you’ve used Waze for some time, you get access to loads of customization options for the icon. You can use ‘Waze Moods’ to express yourself with fun images as the profile icon.
With Google’s database, Waze can even let you search for numerous local businesses. Clicking on a business listing shows a map of the location, and lets you call, visit the website, or get directions there. Waze also shows a widget with driving time to your saved work or home location.
The UX is pretty similar to Google Maps, which gives it an edge over other apps. You get the same kind of search bar, navigation options and on-screen information as the parent company’s leading GPS app.
Reporting and performance
One area where Waze loses to a few competitors is speed limit alerts. There simply aren’t any! A big advantage is the navigation screen, which has a simple interface and shows driving speed. When you type in the destination, all you get is a pop-up screen with distance, ETA, and trip length (time).
One of the best features in Waze is ‘share drive’. It lets you connect to other ‘Wazers’ on the road, making it a powerful social platform to engage with the community. Unlike competitors, Waze uses incredible algorithms to learn your preferences about navigation, alternate routes, and other choices. With Google’s backing, this was pretty much expected.
Waze also accepts voice commands to give you hands-free control. It helps you focus on the road while interacting with the app for navigation information. Audio prompts are loud and timely, making it an ideal choice for drivers who don’t like being distracted.
If you think the ‘share drive’ feature is a bit too much, you can set your profile as ‘Invisible’. This way, you won’t appear on other people’s mobile screens. You can still set a radius to get alerts about traffic events, ensuring you don’t miss any important information about the journey.
Using Waze, set color schemes, gas station preferences and choose from different voice options, such as Elvis and Boy Band. These features aren’t available in other apps, such as CoPilot GPS and Komoot, making Waze both a navigation app and an interesting social GPS solution.
Where can you run this program?
Currently, Waze is available for Android and iOS.
Is there a better alternative?
A community-powered navigation and mapping platform, Waze provides commuters with not only navigation but several interesting features. While the app has some powerful attributes, there are also other options, such as CoPilot GPS, which lets you use maps offline, or Komoot, which covers mountain trails and bike paths. Let’s take a look!
CoPilot GPS: though it’s a paid app, offline use makes a great case for downloading CoPilot GPS. A full-featured navigation app that works offline could be a great idea for overseas travel. The app supports voice directions, Google-powered search and lets you plan new routes even when you’re offline.
Komoot: this app covers a wide range of North American mountain trails and bike paths. You can even look for topographic maps targeted towards hiking. While using Komoot, you can get directions and maps offline. You can even check other factors, such as elevation, surface, difficulty and distance. While the first map is free, you need to pay for using the full version of the app.
Google Maps: whether you’re looking for directions, or want to explore nearby options, Google Maps delivers everything. One area that Waze wins is social integration. While both Google and Waze provide directions, alerts on traffic, incidents and construction, the latter also keeps you engaged with other commuters on the road.
Waze has some amazing features, which make it a popular choice. Though the app was acquired by Google, it has retained brand identity. If you want the journey to work or anywhere else to be engaging and interactive, Waze would be a great choice.
Should you download it?
Yes, even if you’re the kind of person who just wants basic navigation. Waze lets you set preferences without too much trouble. All the other features are added perks for those on the road. Social features, game mechanics, and Map Chat feature make Waze a powerful GPS solution for all.