To say that Waze is popular would be an understatement. The community-based traffic and navigation app has fans the world over, so when the developers add any new features, plenty are bound to notice. There's a new version out and it has a few additions, so let's take a look.
For fans of all things automotive, the trio of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May are three of the most recognizable voices in the world. The three hosted the relaunched UK car show Top Gear for more than a decade before a controversial falling out with the BBC, after which all three moved to the new Amazon show The Grand Tour. As a brilliant bit of promotion for the new show, they're now available as custom driving narration in the Waze navigation app.
Android Auto v2.0 began rolling out earlier this week with a pretty significant redesign that made the driving mode part of the app's primary UI. There were quite a few changes to support the on-phone Auto simulator, including a fair number of new options like the ability to auto-launch with certain Bluetooth connections (and prevent that if it's still in a pocket).
While most of the new features are easy to discover when poking around in either the driving mode interface or in the couple of config screens, there's a new feature in the audio player that deserves to be called out on its own.
Pretty much any adult has probably had this conversation at some point: "The drivers in [my city] are so much worse than the drivers in [your city]." The truth is that you can find shitty drivers everywhere, but empirically, some places are definitely worse than others. Waze, the Google-owned software company behind everyone's favorite Google Maps Navigation alternative, has decided to quantify that data. The results are posted to the Driver Satisfaction Index, and they're as slick as they are disappointing.
It looks like Google is finally moving into the San Francisco ride-sharing market. According to the Wall Street Journal, the tech giant is looking to offer commuters cheaper rates (and lower fares) than the two big players, Uber and Lyft. The plan is to connect drivers and riders who are going in the same direction, instead of the on-demand service you would see with other ride-sharing services.
Forgetting children in a car on a hot summer day is, sadly, not that uncommon of a way for young people to die. Hospitals give out notices to new parents alerting them to the risk. But a piece of paper is easy to, well, forget. So Waze is doing its part to reduce the number of incidents.
Waze is owned by Google these days, but the way it handles navigation is quite different from the Maps app. For example, users can report accidents, speed traps, and other road conditions that affect the directions given to other Wazers. Today, the app is adding yet another quirky and potentially very useful routing feature. Users in LA will be able to get directions that help them avoid "difficult intersections."
There were plenty of features announced at Google I/O yesterday regarding Android and some of those new things are meant for Android Auto - Google's car dashboard system. The most exciting of them is the fact that you will no longer need an Auto-enabled vehicle to be able to benefit from the simplified car-friendly interface while you're driving. You can also learn more about the features in our video, below.
In the next few months, Android Auto will get several interesting additions. First is Waze compatibility with the app running on your dashboard and keeping you in the loop of hazards ahead and potential delays and problems. Second is OK Google hotwording which will activate voice commands when you say "OK Google" instead of requiring you to press a button to start listening.
Google-owned navigation company Waze is expanding into a new area, metaphorically and physically. Last year Wave began testing a carpooling app called RideWith, which was only available in Israel. Ten months later, the company is ready to test out the experience in the US.
A name change is accompanying the move. The app Americans will install goes by the name of Waze Rider, while the service itself is called Waze Carpool.