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Waze

Crowdsourced traffic app Waze gets a fresh lick of social paint

Collaborative traffic and navigation app Waze has just launched its latest update, which features some snazzy new social tools.

Stuart Thomas: Senior Reporter
Stuart Thomas joined the Burn Media team in 2011 while finishing off an MA in South African Literature. Eager to prove his geek credentials, he allowed himself... More

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Waze calls itself the world’s first community-based traffic and navigation app for smartphones. The app allows drivers to outsmart and beat the traffic together by sharing the information the app passively transmits about a user’s speed and location to identify where traffic is moving slowly.

The app currently lays claim to around 30-million users and, with the latest iteration, it looks like they might be able to help each other avoid traffic, and perhaps more importantly, getting lost.

You can, for instance, see friends driving to your destination & everyone’s ETA and also send a pick up request to grab anyone’s location & navigate to them.

The ability to share your drive by sending a live map of your route & ETA to anyone seems particularly useful if a number of people are going to be driving a similar route to you. If you live in a big city then the ability to pin a parking location also seems like it would be really helpful.

Come to think of, that feature’s probably a life-saver to anyone who has a difficult time remembering where they’ve parked.

On the social side, you can now sign in using Facebook and send private messages to other users.

“We may be alone in the car, but most of the time it’s only because we’re on our way to meet others at work or at home, or out to join up with friends,” says Yael Elish, VP Product and Marketing at Waze.

“It’s only natural to be better-informed about the location and timing of those you are about to meet or pick up, and be able to share the same info back with them. With this version, Waze takes drivers out of the dark, re-imagining everyday driving as a much smoother experience.”

As the navigation offerings from giants like Google and Apple (hold your sniggers, chances are it will get there) get more functional and innovative, Waze’s community-style features will probably become an increasingly important way of differentiating itself.