THE FUTURE OF NAVIGATION
You’ve heard of Apple Maps and Google Maps; now the next big thing in the GPS world is Waze – a navigation application for smartphones. Founded in 2006 under the name “FreeMap Israel,” Ehud Shabtai created the app to offer a free, convenient map of Israel, updated in real-time. In 2008, the app became “Waze,” and in 2013 Google bought Waze for $1.1 billion.
So, what makes Waze so unique?
It is a community-driven application. Real people report traffic
patterns, accidents, red-light cameras, hazards and police activity in real time. Once a condition is reported, it shows up to other users and they confirm whether it’s still there. If enough people click the “not there” button, instead of the thumbs up, the alert disappears. The ability to input gas prices is also a cool feature, helping Waze users find the cheapest gas around.
If on your way to a destination you run into bad traffic, Waze adjusts your estimated time of arrival while stuck in traffic, or you find another route. One prime feature in Waze is the ability to send friends and family your route and updated ETA. Upon entering your destination, a screen will pop up where you have the option to share your drive with those on your friends list. Once you choose a person, they’re alerted to your time of arrival and have the option to view your drive along the way. If you and a friend are going to the same location, and you both input your destination into the app, a pop up will show you and your friend’s progress. This feature avoids having to wait for a friend running late, or for syncing up arrival times
for multiple people. You can also send a little “beep beep” to friends also driving – Waze’s version of Facebook’s poke.
You have a profile on Waze where you choose an avatar to represent you on the road. Waze shows the relative locations of other drivers via little characters. This helps the application recognize traffic patterns on its own with no user input. Another cool feature is the ability to change voice navigation settings to various languages, different accents and even promotional voices. When Terminator Genisys came out, you could select Arnold Schwarzenegger to navigate your drive. Different voice additions make the driving experience a lot more entertaining – especially while stuck in traffic.
Once a Waze user, most say they won’t use another GPS application. It is by far the most accurate and helpful app to get from point A to point B, and the ability to send arrival times to friends and family is unparalleled. See you along the Waze.