- What is Waze
- What are the main features of Waze?
- What's new in Waze?
- How do I download Waze?
- What are the best alternatives to Waze?
Waze is a mobile application for driving and navigation assistance based on the principle of participatory production. Very user-friendly and easy to use, this tool offers you several features that are available for free on your Android or iOS mobile devices.
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What is Waze
Waze is a mobile platform that offers a driving assistance assistant in addition to a GPS (Global Positioning System) navigation functionality. Conceived in 2006 by the Israeli firm Waze Mobile, the application was called at that time FreeMap Israel and its role was to map and list the radars located on the roads of this country.
Acquired on June 11, 2013 by Google, Waze has since gained notoriety and now has a community of more than 140 million users spread around the world. According to the latest figures released by the company, Waze has reported more than 70 million traffic incidents in 185 countries. The app would also cover a total of 36 billion kilometers.
The name "Waze" was born from the fusion of two English words including "way" which means path and "maze" which means labyrinth. The service offered by Waze is available on all mobile devices, tablets or smartphones, working with the operating systems Android, iOS or Windows Phone.
What are the main features of Waze?
Waze offers several features that are made available to users of the app free of charge.
A route planner
Route planning is one of the main features of Waze. This service allows you to find the best route from your starting point to your destination in seconds.
The use is very intuitive. After launching the app on your mobile device, all you need to do is enter your destination and the app will suggest the best route for you. You will then have the choice between the shortest, fastest or cheapest route.
A navigation assistant
Waze also offers you an intelligent navigation assistant which allows you to know in real time the state of the traffic on your route. This feature allows you to be informed at all times about any accidents, roadworks or traffic jams that may slow down traffic.
Similar to GPS, you can use real-time voice guidance. You can then personalize this service using the voice of Morgan Freeman, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Colonel Sanders.
A real-time information sharing system
The specificity of Waze lies in the principle of participatory production. In other words, the main functionalities of the application are based on the information provided by the community of Waze users.
One of Waze's flagship features remains the ability to receive reports from other users of the application in real time. Waze's traffic simulator uses information (location of an accident, slowdown, traffic jam, etc.) from this community to offer you the most suitable route.
You are also allowed to share information in real time with other members of the community. Waze allows you to modify the routes of the roads, the names of places or quite simply to report disturbances to other users. However, the use of this functionality requires the use of a web application separate from the mobile application.
In addition to information on traffic conditions, Waze also allows you to receive alerts on the presence of speed cameras in a certain section of road. This feature has been compliant with French law since February 2014.
A free database
Waze launched the “Connected Citizens. This is a free initiative that aims to share data between the application and 2014 public bodies in various countries, transport agencies, municipalities or emergency services.
The information shared by Waze generally concerns traffic conditions and the various incidents listed in real time on the road. The data provided by the partners concern, for example, road closures, the position of garbage trucks, the location of work on the roadway or any other information deemed relevant.
What's new in Waze?
The new features brought by the new version of Waze are numerous. They were officially presented during the “Waze On” online event which took place on September 15, 2021. These new features concern the addition of new features to the application, the updating of existing services, but also the birth of new partnerships.
The Waze Beacons program is one of the new features offered by Waze. This is a Bluetooth navigation service that comes into play when the absence of a GPS signal prevents your location. This is usually the case when your vehicle enters a tunnel.
The technology then uses Bluetooth beacons installed in the galleries to communicate with your smartphone in order to position your vehicle at the exit of the tunnels. According to the company's statements, it would take around 25 beacons per kilometer of tunnel and the cost is fully covered by the community.
The travel suggestion
The new version of Waze also gives you a trip suggestion feature that uses your recent trip history to provide you with a trip recommendation. This function offers you the possibility of obtaining a visual rendering of your route in addition to various information on the duration of the journey or on the intensity of the traffic on your route.
Traffic notification and lane guidance
Another new feature of Waze is the traffic notification feature. This is an alert system that alerts you when traffic begins to build up on your route. Thus, when you receive the warning, you will be able to modify your route to avoid arriving late at your destination.
In addition to this service, there is a feature called "Lane Guidance." »It tells you which lane you should take when you come to an intersection or motorway exit. This information will be given to you a kilometer in advance when you are on the freeways or on a main street. On the other hand, if you are on a small road, you will receive guidance 400 meters before the intersection.
Waze has updated its engine for calculating estimated arrival times in low-driver areas. This update is, according to the service, the direct consequence of the pandemic which has changed the behavior of traffic due to teleworking.
Even more music
With the new version of Waze, you will now be able to save the routes of your planned trips directly in the app. This service is accessible through the Live Map functionality offered online.
Music lovers have not been forgotten. Partnering with Amazon Music now lets you listen to music from third-party services on Waze's audio player. Other partnerships with Spotify, Pandora or YouTube are also being considered.
How do I download Waze?
To get Waze you just need to download the app for free from the Google Play Store. For devices running Android, you will need operating system version 4.4 or later.
For iPads, iPhones or iPods, you will need to go to the App Store. Waze is a free download and requires iOS version 11.0 or later to function properly.
What are the best alternatives to Waze?
There are several free alternatives to Waze. These include the online mapping service Google Maps, available as a mobile application for tablets and smartphones. Maps allows you to consult online maps, calculate routes, but also GPS navigation and consult traffic conditions. The Maps app can be downloaded directly from the Play Store or the App Store.
HERE WeGo software also offers an interesting alternative to Waze. This is a completely free service that can be viewed using a web browser or mobile. The mobile app is available on Android, iOS and Windows Phone and incorporates the main features that Waze does. We thus find in the application the possibility of determining your route using several modes of movement, access to a traffic simulator as well as a voice navigation functionality in more than a hundred countries.
This list can be completed by citing the Mappy driving assistance service. This application gives you access to the route planning features of nearly 320 cities in our country. The app also has a GPS navigation service with voice guidance and geolocation of places of interest. Like its competitors, Mappy is offered in the form of a mobile application available on Android and iOS.
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