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  • Navigation
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Waze app review: A GPS navigation and social traffic sharing tool

Reviews

Introduction

Our world has become a lot more convenient place because of the use of smart phones and GPS technology to guide us. It’s a lot easier to find a destination that we’ve never been to before these days than it was 25 years ago – today we can simply tap in our required destination in an app such as Google maps and we have instant access to real-time driving directions to get us just about anywhere we want to go. As great as these apps are they do have their limitations and they don’t really tell us what’s happening on the road around us, but these days there are even apps for that.

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One of the most popular apps for not only helping you to get to your destination, but also bypass any potential hazards on the way is Waze. This app was first launched in 2009 and it’s been growing in popularity ever since. It turns driving into more than just a daily commute – it can actually make driving a fun social experience. This is a free app and it’s compatible with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

In order to use this app you don’t have to register, but it’s highly recommended. By registering you make yourself visible to your friends that are also using the app, but you always remain in control of who sees you and when. So the answer is you don’t have to register, but there are many benefits if you do.

Waze - GPS Navigation, Maps & Social Traffic

Free

Updates as You Drive

As long as you have the app open while you’re driving you’ll receive real-time updates as conditions change on the road ahead of you. In order to receive local notifications you’ll need to make sure that you have your sound turned on to take advantage of the apps hands free features. You can turn off the sound, but it’s not recommended unless you have a passenger driving with you that can constantly check the app for updates.

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Perhaps the best feature of this app is that it automatically adjusts your route based on information provided by other users ahead of you. Any user that has the app open is constantly sharing real-time traffic information which is of benefit to you and other users. That means if there is a major traffic snarl on the highway ahead of you it might suggest using an alternate service road instead. This has the potential to save you a lot of time especially if you’re on a tight deadline.

Connect with Friends to Coordinate Arrival Time

Another feature that separates Waze from other standard GPS navigation tools is its integration with the Facebook social network. As long as you log on to your Facebook account through the app you’ll be able to quickly share your location and estimated arrival times to a predetermined destination with friends. This is extremely convenient if you’re trying to organize a gathering and it will keep your friends constantly updated on any delays you may be facing so that they don’t become frustrated or worried.

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Waze - GPS Navigation, Maps & Social Traffic

Free

Voice Guided Navigation and Find Cheap Gas

Once you’ve programmed your route into the app it acts in a similar way to any other popular navigation app. It will provide you with real-time voice guided navigation on a turn by turn basis – there’s no need to reach for your phone and increase the danger to you and your passengers.

Another handy feature you’ll find inside this app is the ability to check where the cheapest gas stations are near you. To access this feature you simply tap on the search function in the bottom left corner and then tap once again in the search bar – in the drop down list that appears you’ll see the option to choose gas stations and prices. This automatically presents you with a list of gas stations nearby and their current prices. If you tap on the settings icon, also accessible by tapping on the search function in the bottom left corner, you can actually modify your gas stations searches to include only the gas stations you prefer to visit.

Customized Driving Experience and Contribute Too

Some other great features you’ll find in the settings function of the app include the ability to add locations and businesses nearby that you like, indicate which types of road you wish to avoid such as toll roads, and the ability to change the voice navigation voice and language. It really is a highly customizable app with a lot of great features to choose from.

This app is really dependent on the dedication of its users. If you truly want to make the app as useful as possible you have to also keep your app open as you drive so that others can benefit from the information you can provide. If you don’t allow the app to use your updated information to share with others it simply becomes nothing more than a standard GPS navigation app – it’s entirely community driven.

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Finding Help When You Need It

There are a lot of different options to choose from if you’re looking for help using the app. These are also accessed from the settings menu and you’ll find a help section at the bottom of that menu. There is a help Centre with step-by-step written instructions on how to use the app’s various features and there are also videos that will guide you through using the app as well. The only thing I didn’t like was that finding the help section was not immediately obvious – I had to search around a bit before I found it. It would be a little more helpful if there was a simple question mark icon located on the main screen for easy access to these help options.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Automatically updates as you drive
  • Will reroute you based on community updates
  • If you leave the app open while you drive you’re contributing to the updates
  • Connect with friends on Facebook to coordinate arrival times
  • Voice guided navigation
  • Helps find the cheapest gas station
  • Customizable driving options
  • Detailed help section
  • Automatically shuts off when not in use

Cons

  • The help section is a little difficult to find
  • Using this app will drain your battery relatively quickly

A Winning Social Driving Experience

Waze is an app that will transform the way you use GPS technology. This isn’t just a simple navigation tool – it’s a social navigation tool. The accuracy of its information is highly dependent on its user’s interaction and voluntary updates. It’s packed full of great tools and if you’re an avid traveler it’s an app you’ll definitely want to have in your collection.

Waze - GPS Navigation, Maps & Social Traffic

Free
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Allan Calder

Allan is a freelance writer who loves scouring the App Store for exciting, intriguing and unique apps.