Waze app is a good example of a combination of a GPS navigation app and a social network allowing to find out about travel conditions directly from road users in real time.
This gaining popularity app was created by a joint team of developers from Israel and the United States (California), its pilot launch took place in 2006 and in 2013 "Waze Ltd." company was taken over by the giant of the modern internet world – Google.
As before, now Waze is available for free download in the US and Europe. The app can be downloaded from the official website or app stores for devices running under Android, IOS, BlackBerry OS and Windows Mobile platforms.
Despite the fact that the most detailed maps in this app are of its homeland – Israel, a dozen of other countries are also finely covered, among which are: the United States, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and some other European countries.
In any place the accuracy of how routes and points of interest are displayed depends on the number of users in this app network. The display of travel conditions on roads in large cities is much better compared to the one in small towns and villages (relevant for any country).
The app shell bears resemblance to a game. There are no complex schemes, accurate drawings of landscape and plenty of icons. The design is simple and clear. 3D mode differs from the ordinary map display only by its pitch. Zoom in/out and rotation of map sections is done with the help of screen gestures. There is an option of standard map display with the top position in the north. There are two display modes available: day and night. There is also an interesting feature of showing the "mood" of a user which can be seen by all the other users of Wazer-network.
The menu in the form of icons and lists is quite neat. It contains all the settings required in order to control and manage navigation and your account, send data on your location and route to other Wazers, as well as some other interesting options. For example, you can choose the voice for your interactive assistant. What is more, it can be recorded independently, assigning a familiar timbre to it.
Voice typing also pleased us, but the announcement of the presence of cameras or other objects along a route is absent, although these icons are displayed in visual mode.
After the app was purchased by Google its maps with the same name received another source for displaying roads and routes laid by the users of Waze. The capability to not only create your own route, but also edit maps via the social navigation app is a distinctive feature of Waze app which is most useful when working online, although there is also a feature of saving maps offline. With Waze you can literally draw your own map over a map from a satellite marking standard objects such as roads, gas stations and parking lots.
In order to access its editing mode, you have to log in to your account on Waze editor page and reach the second "development" level in the app.
An interesting feature: in Waze you can see a mapping hierarchy, i.e. users with higher levels can edit more objects or block them, turning away the changes made by less experienced Wazers. We should also highlight the inconvenience of entering data in edit mode – it's favourable to use the desktop version of the editor for such purpose which isn't always convenient. We noticed that the editor works with the least amount of errors in Google Chrome.
The process of moving with the help of Waze maps isn't complicated by the display of lanes, turns and other road signs, but it's possible to choose a route by the length of a path, the quality of a road and other indicators. Before starting moving to your destination or during your ride, you can adjust your route and compare similar traffic patterns.
Since data on roads and travel conditions is added by users, the display of information in Waze isn't always correct – in densely populated areas you can quickly build the shortest route, successfully passing traffic jams or construction works, but in unpopular areas of several European countries it can be difficult to create a route and obtain data on travel conditions. Moreover, the app is most useful when used online, so you have to pay attention to the availability of Internet access. Sometimes you can experience difficulties with building long-distant routes (in case of weak drawing of roads).
The features of the Waze navigation app
Waze social network is a distinctive feature of this app which unities drivers. In addition to the exchange of information on traffic jams, gas stations and its cost of fuel, control points and cameras, via it you can also text any Wazer, send your coordinates or "meet" another Wazer after receiving his or her coordinates. In their turns your Waze-friends can keep eyes on your whereabouts on the way to the meeting place.
There is a capability of linking the accounts of popular social networks (such as Twitter or Facebook) in order to share with your friends the information on your trips and arrival time to destination points, which is a very convenient feature for travelling with a company by different cars; there is no need to explain how to get to the meeting place since you can simply share data with friends via a social network and the app will create routes to the meeting point for everyone.
Simple and even a bit cartoon-like design of the online app turns the journey along a designated route into an exciting game. For moving on roads and other achievements Wazers get points which further affect the "level" of Waze-movement participants and allow not only to secure a position in the rating of drivers, but also get other perks in the form of special icons directly depending on the "experience" gained in Waze.
To sum up at all, we can say that Waze is a quite ambiguous app. The advantages of its navigation social network are obvious:
- free download access;
- combination of a navigation app and social client;
- simple and user-friendly interface;
- the capability to enter data;
- rating system of map editing;
- the feature of "meeting".
The app will suit the needs of beginners who lack experience in driving and need to draw a short route within major cities, although it will require internet connection from time to time. Google maps remain the best counterpart of Waze app which are also created with the participation of Wazers.