In my welcome post a few weeks ago, I wrote about posting useful contents for my blog readers. As a productivity enthusiast, I spend a lot of time scanning the Apple App Store for useful apps that can help improve my productivity and allow me to maximize the effectiveness of my life. Each month, I will regularly post about at least one app or productivity tools that I found useful and helps with my own productivity or makes my life a lot easier. For this month’s featured app, I present Waze.
Waze Splash Screen
Waze is a community based traffic and navigation app providing turn-by-turn guidance. It featured real-time traffic updates as well as few other useful tools commonly not provided by most GPS devices or apps. Waze’s strength comes from its nature as a crowd-sourcing app which meant that it gathers nearly all of its information from users making live reports. Waze also boasts a very strong database of addresses and locations, relying on both Google and Foursquare to provide additional landmarks and addresses. This provides a very welcome extension to its already broad range of addresses. Having Foursquare embedded into it makes it even more appealing as you do not need to know the full address of a place to be able to reach its location.
Waze also provides a unique ability to share your location with friends. This feature is useful, for example, to share pick-up location, or a meeting-point. When you link your Waze account to your social network accounts such as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, you will get the extra benefits that sets Waze apart from other GPS applications. They range from the ability to notify your friends of your current location while driving, or that you are currently looking for parking. You can even share your driving paths to get from point A to point B.
Finally, being almost entirely user-driven, Waze allows users to post reports, such as traffic jams, police sightings, accident, road hazard, safety and / or speed cameras, and road closure. It is, in my opinion, these abilities that made Waze so powerful compared to other maps app which do not give its users such freedom.
Waze Report Options
Since I first downloaded the app last year, I have been using it extensively. If you are like me, then you probably are not very good with your directions and often got lost trying to get to a new place. You probably also still drove the longest path to get to places you are familiar with, only because it is the easiest route to remember. I often look with envy at people who just seems to know their way around really well. Furthermore, they are always quick on finding alternative routes if one route is blocked or there is traffic jam ahead. With Waze, that is no longer an impossible task for me.
Waze also adapts to my driving routes, if for example I continued to disregard its driving directions. After a few drives, it eventually learns to provide directions according to my usual paths.
I often have problems remembering the street names of places I have been to. I knew how to get into a location if I started from a familiar place or if i am in the right neighborhood. However, put me in an obscure unknown location and you will find me driving around without directions. Waze, with its Foursquare database search capability, helped me tremendously in immediately getting to that location. I no longer need to worry about spending precious time looking for a destination.
User reports have helped to redirect my driving path to avoid accidents and major traffic jams by using slightly longer, but less condensed routes. Even in developed country like Indonesia, Waze continues to shine and I am still able to navigate my way around with it.
The one thing I haven’t mentioned at all is that Waze provides all of these amazing features at absolutely no cost. It is a free app, and is available across major platforms like iOS, and Android. There is no subscription fee and maps continue to be updated in real-time thanks to more users joining the growing number of fans. I have provided the links to download the app below. Go ahead and give it a try, as you can never go wrong with a free app. For tutorials on how to use it, the in-app tutorial video should get you started in minutes.
Have you used the Waze app? How have you used it and what do you like / dislike about it? Do you use similar apps? Let me know in the comments.