Waze has been around awhile for other phones: iPhone, Android, Windows and Symbian devices, but now it’s finally available for BlackBerry. What is Waze? It’s a free social mobile map that is in beta and utilizes GPS and live maps, real-time traffic updates, turn by turn directions over the air, and it’s driver-generated. You are helping to build it as you use it. And there’s a contest too…
So for their release, please keep in mind that this is an early beta version of Waze for BlackBerry. It may not be optimized just yet, and it’s fairly new in the U.S. as well. Don’t expect perfection, but enjoy being part of building the network and roads, and the map as it continues to grow. It’s available for the following devices: 8900, 9000, 9630, and the 9700. No touchscreen devices yet. There’s a cool contest going on to in celebration of the release so keep reading.
Let me explain what the goal of waze is. To create the world’s first live driving map using the cooperation of drivers worldwide. While it’s free and does give turn by turn directions over the air, it’s best for use when going to familiar places such as work, friends, etc. If you use Garmin, Telenav, Navigator, those should still be used when going somewhere unfamiliar. Waze is still in beta and is still newer in the U.S. As more people begin using waze, it will grow and become more accurate. It uses real time maps, but also uses drivers to find the routes, report misnamed or unknown roads, and to report speed traps and accidents.
So I’m going to start with it from the phone. I installed waze on my Tour 9630. It installed quickly and easily. After installing, you are asked to either sign in or make an account, which is very simple. After making the acct, waze loads. I love that there are the icons on the top right and the battery and time on the left. Clicking on the options button will bring up the following options: Report, View real time alerts, New Address, Local search, My Favorites, Recent searches, Saved locations, General, Map settings, Profile, Routing, Privacy, Data usage, View my points, Send logs, Shortcuts, About and Exit.
Report gives you the options of reporting: Police, Traffic jam, Accident, Hazard, Chit chat, Update map, or Check-in with Foursquare. In General you have the option of: Auto zoom, Navigation Guidance, show points ticker, Measurement system, and 24 hour clock. In Map you can change the map color scheme and have the option to show: Wazers, Traffic layer, Speed cams, chit chats, Police traps, Accidents, Traffic jams, Hazards, and road construction.
In Profile, you can see your Username, Password, Nickname, you can choose your vehicle and color, agree to be pinged, your mood, and to report to Twitter and Foursquare. In Routing you can choose your Route preference, dirt roads, Minimize turns, Avoid highways, or Prefer cookie munching. In Privacy you can be shown while driving as your Nickname, Anonymous, or Don’t show me. In Data Usage you can reduce data use and download traffic info. You can also view your points.
Points and cookie munching is how much you use the app. The more you use it, the better it gets. It’s in our hands to shape. While the maps are there, it’s in beta, and we have the power to report, change, and shape it to be the best it can. And with turn by turn navigation, it is really interesting. I like that it tells you ahead of time what way you’ll be turning so you can prepare, and when I didn’t go the way it directed me too it recalculated the route and got me to my destination. Imagine being able to report the speed traps, the cop cars and undercovers you spot, the accidents, the construction, ets. And of course chit chats, wouldn’t it be nice to have a wazing chit chat with fellow wazers? And to know you can also share on foursquare and twitter is awesome.
Now the personal experience with waze. I turned it on, and it found my GPS. Next after creating an account, I was able to customize it. I put in New Address. Then it finds the address and has an eta and says out loud “In approx xx of a mile turn left” or “turn right”. And it did take me there to my destination in the time it said I’d get there. The more people that use it here in the states, since it’s relatively pretty new here, the better it will be at becoming accurate and also showing the things we want to know.
In celebration o f the release for BlackBerry, there’s a contest out there waiting for you. it’s featuring little “road goodies”. They are small blackberry shaped and colored icons that are scattered all over the maps and are worth bonus oints. From May 4th to May 14th the wazer with the most blackberry “road goodies” along their daily route will be rewarded with a brand new iPad! The goodies are cute, they even appear as cupcakes and etc.
With the road goodies, I would have to say that Waze reminds me of Telenav meets PacMan with a car for your icon. Fun, beneficial, with your destiny in your hands and phone.
Wazing is great, and if you are interested, I encourage you to give Waze a try. It’s going to make it worth your while.