How To Use Waze, The App Google Just Bought For $1.1 Billion

Today, an app headquartered in Israel called Waze was acquired by Google.

The price: $1 billion, plus $100 million in employee retention and incentives.

Waze is an iOS and Android app with more than 40 million registered users. It was founded in 2007 Ehud Shabtai, Amir Shinar and Uri Levine. Noam Bardin is the company’s CEO. It previously raised $67 million from investors.

Now you know what it is. Here’s how it works.

Welcome to Waze!

Waze realises you're new. It helps you get started.

You can plug in your home and work addresses so you don't have to constantly type them in.

In addition, you can create a user name, set your mood, or send messages over the app.

As you drive, you earn points and bump up levels. Here's how the points are scored.

Here's what a current Waze score looks like. You can connect to Facebook to see how your friends are doing and where they're driving too.

One way to get points is to leave tips for other nearby drivers. Here are all the things you can do on Waze.

And all the things you can report. Here's a list of all the reports nearby. You can view cops, accidents and more.

Here's a nearby accident reported, for example.

A policeman.

And nearby traffic jams. You can also sort by traffic jams on the route to where you're headed.

You can also find nearby gas stations and prices (addresses are listed too, but they've been deleted in the below screenshot).

Here's what it's like to get directions on Waze. You can type in a location using the search feature, just like Google and Apple Maps.

Waze then tells you how long it will take to get there, and what to be wary of during your drive.

The route looks like a cartoon version of Google Maps. But you can see floating heads on the way. Those are police icons.

If you click on the icon, more information pops up so you can navigate around the area or proceed with caution.

Here are some pros and cons of using Waze:

Pros:

  • Waze has voice navigation if you just need directions, similar to Google and Apple Maps.
  • The real-time traffic information is the biggest draw, and it's provided in real-time. You'll hardly ever see an outdated traffic jam or accident listed on the app.
  • There are safety and privacy features built into the app, so you can hide from other drivers if you don't feel like sharing and just want to observe.
  • Aside from traffic updates, you can find nearby gas stations (and competing prices) on the app, as well as cops that are hiding.

Cons:

  • It's incredibly distracting to use while driving. If your head is down searching for upcoming traffic, you could easily become one of the accidents listed in the app.
  • Waze makes distracting noises while you drive, because it insists on awarding drivers points as they pass milestones.
  • Waze drains your battery, so make sure you have it charging while the app is open.

What's it like using another hot new startup? Check out:

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