The power of the average smartphone has grown immensely. Over the last 5+ years, we’ve watched smartphones replace device after device, as their capabilities have increased. We no longer carry around MP3 players. I don’t remember the last time I saw someone walking around with a digital camera. And when’s the last time you drove somewhere with one of those clunky Garmin GPS’s suction-cupped to the middle your windshield?
Whether you’re #TeamiPhone or #TeamAndroid (or #TeamBlackberry, if that still exists…), your phone’s got built-in GPS navigation and an app to get you from Point-A to Point-B. However if you, like most people, are still using Apple or Google Maps, you need to stop. Right now.
Imagine an app with turn-by-turn navigation, live traffic and road hazard updates, alerts you of police ahead, tells you where to find the cheapest gas, seamlessly integrates with social media, and has hands-free voice control. That’s Waze. And the best part, it’s FREE.
So exactly does Waze accomplish all this you ask? By integrating its services with the top players in the tech world. Waze starts by using, and was recently acquired by, Google Maps for its search and navigation services. It then adds data and submissions from map editors and individual users to ensure it’s as up-to-date as possible when it’s time to go.
The social component of Waze is its biggest asset and strength. Waze automatically compiles traffic data from its users (only while the app is in use), the Google database, and other sources to accurately measure and display traffic conditions on the road. Slow downs and stoppages ahead? No problem. Waze automatically re-routes you around them. Wondering if there are police speed traps, road hazards, or construction coming up? Those too are constantly reported by other users, posted to the map and alerted to you as well.
Before you ask, the answer is yes, Waze does work as well and as easily as their animated short makes it seem. Take it from someone who should’ve listened to ‘the GPS lady’ (or Kevin Hart if you choose to use Waze’s new celebrity navigation voice option). Waze tried to direct me off the highway 45 minutes into my two-hour drive. I, of course, didn’t listen and soon found myself stuck in a massive traffic jam a few miles ahead. Thankfully the Waze woman doesn’t hold grudges when she’s ignored, and soon rerouted me out of the jam.
As I mentioned earlier, Waze is free, and I highly recommend you download it before your next road trip. It’s available in the Apple App Store, Google Play Market, and Windows Phone Store; so there’s no reason not to use it unless your one of those unfortunate souls still using a Blackberry.
Do you have another app(s) you feel everybody must download? LET US KNOW BELOW!