Have you ever got stuck in traffic and hoped you could simply check in to a social map where someone has suggested an alternate route? Even better, if you had an early information about the roadblock, you could have avoided the route? Waze, an Android and iOS based startup, can help you get all the necessary traffic information and help you reach your destination without much frustration.
The Android and iOS based startup backed by Kleiner Perkins is aimed towards crowdsourcing traffic information. The app can be used to notify(and get notified as well) traffic information like roadblocks, police traps, jams, accidents etc. The app lets you take advantage of the data fetched by other fellow drivers(also using Waze) in your locality to outsmart traffic. Powered with voice control(initiated by a simple hand gesture) the app can be a great way to stay connected to the traffic updates and report necessary changes that you might encounter during your daily road trip.
The app has recently launched a new feature that will enable users to refuel gas at a lower price. So apart from finding (and reporting) traffic information one can now locate a gas station that’s offering lower prices. GasBuddy, already a market leader in this segment is already doing a great job. Users will have to wait for some time to find out the accuracy of Waze’s information and how it is planning to take up the challenge of competing with Gasbuddy. Waze has partnered with vendors that will offer discounts to Waze users at nearly 2000 stations currently in US. The service will gradually be rolled out globally so that the community can also report a gas station in their daily commute.
Along with other behemoths in the mapping scenario, Waze is also confirmed to be a part of Apple’s new turn-by-turn mapping services that is being implemented in the latest iOS6. This will definitely take the numbers up for the Waze users thereby producing more information for the service. However it is still unsure to how far Apple is planning to integrate the service in its maps, we will have to wait for that too.
Other notable features that has been dispensed includes search by category(for locating restaurants, ATMs, coffee shops etc), waypoints(to add a stop in your proposed route, helpful for car poolers) and text-to-speech.
To be candid, with what Waze professes to be offer, will eventually grow into a complete tool for car navigation. Now to be true, crowdsourcing, in terms of usability, offers both sides of a coin. Information generated by users help keep thing updated and grows at a steady pace as well. On the other hand, the accuracy of the information is questionable. Nonetheless, Waze has grown into a massive database, thanks to the (17million plus) community and doing great so far (else the Apple deal might not have happened). If things goes this way, Waze has all the mettle to change the face of turn-by-turn navigation by so-called social (storytelling) reporting of traffic.