How Does Waze App Work?

Waze is a social GPS-based navigational and traffic app that uses turn-by-turn navigation and user-submitted travel times and route details. This useful app was build up by Israeli start-up Waze Mobile, and was later acquired by Google in 2013. During the Mobile World Congress 2013, Waze beat various eminent apps including Dropbox and Flipboard to win the Best Overall Mobile App award. It supports iPhone, Android, Blackberry 10, Windows Mobile and Blackberry 10. A Windows Phone 8 beta version was provided for in the Windows Phone Store as from July 2013.

How It Works


Once you open Waze, your Smartphone automatically starts to share information with other Waze users on the road. Your cruising speed will be helpful in showing where the traffic is, and will reroute you and other users around potential traffic jams that are along a particular route. Besides offering users with traffic updates, Waze provides information about live road events such as accidents, police activity, stalled vehicles, speed traps and any other road hazards.

Waze comes with a bubbly and child-like interface that is very easy to use. You can either control easily it with the touch of a finger, or by your voice. You will be brought directly to the map once you open the app. There are two button options situated on the bottom corners, which makes it very hard for you to confuse the main menu with numerous buttons. On the left side, you can input your destination, view accidents and road reports and also see where your friends who are connected to Waze are. The right side button allows you to contribute to the Waze community. You can use this button to report incidents that you were not alerted to.

The effectiveness of Waze can be attributed to the active prompts that the app provides as a user is driving. When a driver passes a live road event, a small prompt automatically shows for a few seconds. A driver can then confirm whether a road event is still taking place or whether it has been cleared. This makes it possible for other drivers to get real-time information that can give them an idea of how the roads are.  The good thing about Waze is that it is not only free to download and use, but it can be used anywhere in the world as well. Waze announced that there were over 12 million app downloads worldwide as of January 2012. By July 2012, Waze made another announcement claiming that it had reached 20 million users. According to a research carried out by Yahoo, there were nearly 50 million Waze app users worldwide in June 2013.

How does it differ from others?

One aspect that distinguishes Waze from traditional GPS navigation software is its community-driven application that gathers map data as well as other information from Waze users. It relies on users’ driving times to offer routing and real-time traffic updates. This navigation app also identifies the cheapest fuel stations that are nearby or along the driver’s route.

Besides providing real-time traffic, turn-by-turn navigation and other location-specific alerts, this app simultaneously sends anonymous information back to the database to enhance the service as a whole. Waze also uses gaming get-togethers to engage and encourage its users to provide more information that can allow them drive over icons of cupcakes etc to earn points. Drivers can also earn points for the traffic and road hazard reports that they make. The points that they earn can be used to change their avatar, as well as increase their status in the community.

In a bid to monetize its app, Waze started offering advertisers and resellers a web interface in which they can advertise. The advertisements are based on locations where small icons appear on given locations for interested drivers to engage into the ads offered. Waze also offers a web interface to TV news stations that allows them to broadcast current traffic reports and alerts straight from the Waze app. In mid 2013, Waze launched a global localization project that will enable real-time traffic and future road closures updates during major events in a given country, i.e. Tour de France.  Is this app worth downloading? The answer to that question is a resounding “YES”!

Manoj Verma

By Manoj VermaManoj Verma, is CTO at TechAhead Software, with over 12 years of technical experience with leading global organizations such as HP and CISCO in Project Management and System Design & Development. Manoj has worked in Logistics & Warehousing, Freight Management, Education, Online Trading, Portfolio Management, Project Management, E-commerce with POS, Social Networking, IVRS and Telephony, App Integration domains on process assessment and automation.