Google maps is a free to use GPS navigation application that was launched in 2005. It’s safe to say that it is the longest lived and most respected player in the free to use GPS navigation space. Surely at some point in the last 9 years you have been lost or looking for directions for a place and you either say to yourself or it is said to you check Google Maps.
Waze on the other hand is a new player on the free to use GPS scene only coming into existence in 2009, even though it is a relative newcomer, it has gained a great deal of popularity based on its fresh and interactive take on GPS navigation.
An Overview of Google Maps
Google Maps has been considered the industry standard for years in the free to use GPS category. It has a very simple and clean interface. And it is a breeze to use, you simply turn on the application and the map of your area will load and you can either take a look at what the area has to offer, as it shows the locations in your area whether they be Businesses, Parks, Public Buildings and any other item of note. Once you select any of these items which may attract your interest you can scroll through quite a lot of information on these items and even get directions, news or reviews relating to that place. Perhaps, the most popular function of Google maps is the directions function. Once you type in a destination it will calculate a route and then give you difference options to get there, for instance on foot, by bus or train, or by car and will tell you the respective time each option will take you and will direct you as you travel.
An Overview of Waze
Waze at first glance looks quite like Google Maps the only real difference in the interface is when the map loads Waze shows you the users in your area. It is only when you get down to the features that you start to see the vast differences. Waze features are very socially driven and it keeps the user engaged to some degree at all times. It specifically advertises itself as being a traffic application. And it does so beautifully, first lets consider using Waze to get from one point to another. Once you have programmed in your destination it calculates your route based on the shortest distance and the traffic conditions. However, unlike Google maps who will rely on traffic departments of the news for traffic updates Waze relies substantially on users travelling the same route as you are.
Waze excels at making users feel like an important part of the GPS navigation. Users have the option to report what is happening on the route around them from gas prices at their local gas stations to accidents, hazards and traffic jams to police traps and speed cameras that may be on their route. Allowing reports by users and even give specifics on any of the events which users may wish to report and giving points for reporting incidents is a great way to make users feel like they have done a good deed. These points give you a rank which adds a gratifying and competitive element which ensure a minimum level of user participation. Finally, there is the social media aspect it allows users to add their Facebook and/or Foursquare account to connect with your friends adds another layer to the Waze experience.
Waze and Google Maps may start off looking the same but they are very different beasts. Having taken a look at what each has to offer it seems clear that Waze has outstripped Google Maps in relation to its usefulness to travelers. While Google Maps does offer a great deal of convenient information to travelers about directions and details about what is in their area, Waze really takes GPS navigation takes to another level. Waze brings in a social media and crowd sourcing element allowing you to see almost in real time the other users on your route the gas prices at stations in your area, if there are any obstructions to traffic, police traps or anything that may affect your journey in your area or on the route you have chosen. Through the GPS technology it can tell your speed and if you slow down or stop it prompts users to find out why and urge you to make a report so that other users in your area can be alerted. Where Google is passive a passive app Waze is very active in letting users know how the world around them is changing on a constant basis, and that seems to be the future of GPS applications. So hands down, the best GPS app for either iOS or Android is Waze.
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