If you regularly drive in the city and you own a smartphone, chances are you have the Waze app. Next to your dating and gaming apps, this is most likely the most frequently used app on your phone. If you are a patron of ridesharing, it’s imperative that each driver’s app has a built-in navigational app as well.
Navigational apps such as Waze has been a great way to outsmart traffic because it offers you different options to get to your destination. Additionally, it also informs the user if the road ahead is jampacked and obstructed, which sadly, is already a common daily occurrence.
This technological breakthrough eliminates the need to use maps or asking vague instructions from bystanders. For years, Google Maps has been the go-to app for mobile users looking for directions or estimated time of arrival (ETA). While Google Maps is still the king of maps, for many of the millions of Waze users, it’s Waze or nothing.
Waze gathers information and quickly determines the fastest route. This has helped it to create a strong community user base. It also provides a feature that allows users to add their friends, enabling a group of friends to keep track of each other while traveling or simplify the probability of locating a friend on the Waze’s user’s vicinity.
Users can easily connect to Facebook and Google Calendar to find addresses and draw up the directions to their destinations like hotels or cafes along the route or gas stations within the vicinity of a fill-up.
It is a great app for factual and real-time traffic updates. Waze crowdsources its data from other drivers who are also on the road within the user’s route and vicinity, constantly updating them with notifications about accidents, traffic jams or a slow down in traffic. Waze also helps users re-route if necessary to well, find better ways.Waze is faster in terms of loading speed than Google Maps, sending feedback on directions and time to destination whenever a user is traveling in the opposite direction from the specified route. Google Maps is trying to implement some of these features, but Waze currently serves its users more effectively.
They’re only non-human, who can make mistakes
Given the advantages Waze and similar navigational apps offer to their users, the question now is, are they really better compared to directions provided by persons? One advantage to asking someone for directions is that they are familiar with the ins and outs of a particular geography. They know what is happening in every alleyway and avenue. They know which specific times the severe congestion happens. They also know the shortcuts and detours. And most importantly, they know which streets to avoid. People living in a particular area of a certain place become the human version of the apps we normally rely on.
One disadvantage Waze and similar platforms have is the ugly and cluttered layout of the maps. In an area with little activity or users, the app loses its community advantage over Google Maps. But, in areas with a large community, the number of icons on the screen can be overwhelming. Waze displays maps with other users, hazards, traffics jams, police traps, accidents, and much more; a tiny mobile screen can quickly become filled and make it difficult for users to find their routes.
There were also several reports from some users that Waze sometimes inaccurately provided instructions i.e directing the driver to turn to what was supposed to be a street but turned out to be a bridge. Given the local street names can be lengthy and multi-syllabical, Waze sometimes tends to mispronounce them or not say it all.
James Deakin, an award-winning hall of fame automotive journalist, inspirational speaker, social media influencer, brand ambassador, and road safety advocate, was getting weird routes offered to him. Many times these could be two to three times longer than the fastest route. The reason behind this was due to an update they made recently to allow users to navigate their way through coding but unfortunately, if a user didn’t register his/her car’s plate number, it will assume the user is always affected by the metro traffic coding scheme and they’re avoiding restricted areas.
As much as we like navigational apps like Waze, we think it could use a few improvements, particularly with its ‘alerts on route’ feature. The following are the standard alerts that Waze already has: police, accident, hazard on road, hazard on shoulder, weather hazard, other hazard, and speed cameras. Waze users know that the community-based platform works best if its members pitch in, so you have to click on these icons when you encounter them on the road.
In line with abovementioned, Krishna Kumar, regional head of Waze Asia Pacific, says the navigational tool app will continue to introduce innovations to create more value for its and to help solve transportation challenges: Indeed there is much that can still be improved
The taxi-hailing app Micab, too uses a navigation app as part of their technology. However, the the benefit a passenger has with Micab is, that since navigational apps require internet connectivity, and can at times be compromised by poor connectivity common in these parts, passengers trust the experience of local taxi drivers to override clearly wrong directions from a navigational app that finds itself well, lost.
With Micab, whether relying on technology or human intuition, even if two roads diverged in a wood, a Micab driver may just take the road less traveled. And that just might make all the difference.