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Waze is an application for mapping and navigation. It has been recently taken over by Google.
It is an app that is powered by the community and offers traffic information and alerts on a real time basis. The app is free and full of useful features and is very popular for its accuracy, being considered the top app in the category. However, Waze should not be considered as an alternative for Google Maps. It is to be used while a person is driving, so there are directions for walking or other transportation. There are also no three dimensional buildings and other topography related data, such as you might find in Apple Maps and in Google Maps. Users can use the application without creating an account, but if you do set an account it is more useful, as you can contribute more towards the community.
Waze is a very powerful application and has a constantly updated database containing information. There are millions of users of the app and they offer data on an active or passive basis. All this data leads to the creation of accurate maps, which is converted into traffic data that can be used by all the users by viewing on their device screen. The data also shows road closures that occur on account of construction, one-way streets, and restrictions on certain turns, on a real time basis. If users find something wrong, they can easily mark these issues with a tap or two. The traffic data offered by Waze is also very accurate. If the app states that there is a traffic jam in a particular area, it is most likely true. As the user drives along, there will be regular pop ups from the app, related to incidents occurring on the road along a radius that is preset, based on the destination. Incidents, such as slow traffic and accidents, the presence of police or speed cameras can also be notified to the user.
Active and Passive Contribution
All these notifications will be provided to the user even if he or she has not set any destination. This is in fact an incentive for users to keep the application running all the time when they are on the road. This way the community of users will help improve contribution towards traffic data to other users of the app. It is a kind of passive contribution towards the app data and it helps to make it more accurate.
Waze also regularly offers pop ups showing nearby businesses, when the user stops the vehicle. For instance, when you stop for a traffic red signal, you can find such pop ups. These are in the form of advertisements and are a means of subsidizing the free application.
The maps are quite simple enough with a simple user interface, but the buttons on the application are rather small and found in the lower corners of the page. When you tap them, the pop up menu appears with bigger buttons and options. However, the user has to make a few taps for selecting a preset destination like his home or his office. It takes even more steps to input a new destination. This is because the search entry offers results in the case of addresses for various search engines along with Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook Places and others. In addition, the search results also offer the business database related to Waze. In this way, it seems to offer too much of a choice, which makes it quite tricky to handle.
Using Voice Command
One of the advantages of the application is that users don’t need to use the keyboard on the smartphone while they are driving, as they can use voice commands for inputting addresses and search terms. Users can do this by tapping on the microphone icon near the search field and then making a voice search.