I Use Waze Every Day, But Here’s What Google Maps Does Better

For the modern driver out there, Waze is without a must-have part of the app arsenal, especially when trying to deal with the crazy traffic in urban areas.
Waze on CarPlay 8 photos
Waze on CarPlayWaze on CarPlayWaze on CarPlayWaze on CarPlayWaze on CarPlayWaze on CarPlayGoogle Maps satellite view on the CarPlay dashboard
More often than not, the daily commute is a nightmare because of obvious reasons, and applications like Waze come in handy especially when you need them. Powered by a crowdsourcing engine, Waze is often incredibly accurate, as it relies on data collected from phones out there, as well as on reports submitted by users, to find the fastest route to a defined destination.

As a bonus, it makes the road a lot more predictable, as it offers warnings on what’s happening ahead on the route, no matter if we’re talking about the painfully common traffic jams, accidents, potholes, or even roadkill.

As a hardcore Wazer, I admit the app does its job brilliantly 99 percent of the time, but on the other hand, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a perfect app. It’s not, and given it’s a Google-owned app, copying some ideas from Google Maps would make a lot of sense.

So in the short term, here are the Google Maps features that I think would fit Waze like a glove.

The user interface

First of all, it’s the user interface. Let’s be honest about it, Waze looks childish, and for long-time users, pretty outdated.

While the UI serves its purpose very well, Waze needs a modern refresh that would make the experience overall a little bit more current. I know that a dramatic overhaul could kill off the familiar approach that many users wouldn’t want to see go, but the Google-owned company can very well introduce a visual update gradually using smaller bits.

Google Maps is in many ways a lot easier to use, simply because it has a cleaner UI that’s focused on the route you must follow. Waze, on the other hand, feels cluttered, especially because it sometimes struggles to show as much information as possible on the map (including ads, that is).

Waze on CarPlay

The satellite mode

This is strongly related to the outdated UI we’ve already talked about, but the lack of a satellite view in Waze is one major shortcoming that Google should be able to address without too much effort.

This Google Maps satellite layer makes the navigation overall a lot more convenient and straightforward, whereas in Waze you’re stuck with the same standard approach with no further customization options.

The satellite view in Google Maps helps users figure out where they are and which way to go, especially now when the quality of the available imagery is reaching a surprising level.

Google Maps satellite view on the CarPlay dashboard

Navigation without an Internet connection

The main difference between Waze and Google Maps is that the first requires a permanent data connection whereas the latter can also work offline thanks to maps downloaded in advance.

However, once you configure Waze to provide step-by-step navigation to a defined route, the app keeps offering guidance even without an Internet connection. The bigger problem is that you’re not getting any traffic updates, and if you happen to take a different route by accident, Waze is pretty much useless until a data connection is available.

Tunnels are the best example in this regard, and while Waze has tried to address this shortcoming with beacons, they’re obviously available in a very limited number of regions.

Offline maps in Google Maps come in handy in so many ways, not only when the cellular signal is lost but also when traveling abroad and you need to avoid the roaming charges. In theory, adding a dedicated offline mode to Waze, and therefore providing only basic navigation without the real-time traffic information component, is totally doable, but at the end of the day, Google has every reason in the world to avoid doing this, especially because Waze and Google Maps could end up cannibalizing each other’s share.


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