Waze is used by millions of drivers around the world and has a loyal following. Unfortunately for the Google-owned company, driven miles plummeted by up to 90% during the Coronavirus lockdown in some countries and far fewer people are commuting to work in their cars even now.
This has led to some job losses at Waze, but it is rolling out new features by the bucket load – seemingly in a bid to get drivers to use the app more.
Just recently it announced Google Assistant integration as well as the ability to plan a journey using its online Live Map and send it to the Waze app, with time-to-leave notifications based on current traffic.
In its Waze On virtual event today it launched a series of new features including lane guidance – something that was beta-tested back in May 2020 and a feature that users have been requesting for a long time.
You’ll now see lane symbols at the top of the app above the map, similar to what Google Maps users have had for years. Quite why it has taken so long for Waze to implement them is a mystery.
There are also new trip suggestions, which will be available from some time in October. This uses locations you’ve driven to in the past to provide a selection of destinations when you open the Waze app.
For each trip, much as you see when you plan a route in Google Maps, it will show the estimated arrival time based on current traffic conditions.
Alongside this, Waze is also rolling out traffic notifications which use those previous destinations to warn you if the trip will take longer than usual because of bad traffic, thus saving you from being late. These will appear on your lock screen or pop up while you’re using an app: you don’t have to have Waze open.
Again, these will start appearing next month.
The app will also see improvements to the Carpool feature, something that’s not available in the UK, but is in the US, Brazil, Mexico and Israel.
These include an option to automatically approve ride requests, and an ‘instant book’ option for those wanting to join a Carpool.
Launching first in Israel is ‘real-time rides’, a feature that will notify drivers as they start their drive of riders who want to go somewhere on the driver’s planned route.
The Google Assistant already launched in Waze, but only in English. Later in 202, this support is expanding to include French, Spanish and Portuguese languages.