Life Without Google Maps: Waze Seems the Only Solid Alternative

Google Maps at work 6 photos
Photo: Google
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Google Maps is undoubtedly the world’s leading mobile navigation app, and if you’re looking for the reason that makes it such a popular solution, the answer actually comes down to more of them.
First and foremost, Google Maps is completely free, so it can be used without paying a single cent. Sure, critics claim users are paying with their data, but this is a completely different story.

Then, Google Maps is already there on Android devices, and it can easily be downloaded on iPhones as well. So using it is extremely convenient, as launching the app doesn’t require more than a few taps.

And last but not least, it comes with a super-advanced feature lineup, including state-of-the-art navigation for drivers, biking directions, walking information, and so much more. It also packs Street View for street-level imagery, as well as satellite data that lets us explore pretty much any location in the world from the comfort of our own sofas.

Needless to say, there are several Google Maps alternatives out there, some of them coming from navigation specialists that know precisely what such a piece of software is supposed to do. However, at the end of the day, Waze looks like the only solid Google Maps alternative for drivers.

Google Maps navigation
Photo: Google
First and foremost, the biggest difference between Google Maps and most of its rivals is the freeware license. The applications coming from the navigation specialists we told you about earlier aren’t always available at no cost, and if they are, they only come with a basic feature package. Google Maps offers everything to everybody without having to pay a single cent.

For example, one of the best Google Maps alternatives right now is Sygic GPS Navigation. The app has everything you’d ever need when driving, including offline maps, traffic information, speed limit warnings, sign recognition detection, and so on.

However, it only comes with a 7-day trial, after which you’re required to get a subscription to continue using it on Android or iPhone.

Unfortunately for people who are aiming for an experience without Google, the best alternative for Google Maps when driving is another Google-owned app. It’s Waze, an application that makes it more convenient and faster to reach a specific destination using the power of the community.

As compared to Google Maps, Waze’s essential engine is a crowdsourcing system that allows users to send traffic reports on speed traps, traffic jams, roadkill, accidents, and so on. Using all this data, Waze can then look for the best route to a user-defined destination.

Google Maps navigation
Photo: Google forums
In other words, if you’re using Google Maps for driving and just want to reach a certain destination faster and easier, Waze is, in 99 percent of the cases, the one that’ll help you do this without having to pay for it.

The only drawback that Waze comes with, and for many people out there, it’s actually a deal-breaker, is that the app requires a permanent Internet connection. It doesn’t come with offline maps, and in order to do its magic and always have the up-to-date maps and the latest traffic reports, it needs to be online to download them.

Once you go offline, Waze becomes just a useless piece of software that can’t do anything for you, in which case you’re better with pretty much any other navigation solution in the store.

So right now, if you’re looking for a Google Maps alternative to get you to the destination faster, Waze should be one of the first stops. If you’re not interested specifically in this capability and just want a navigation solution that comes with the full package (and you don’t mind paying), including offline maps, then Sygic, TomTom, and HERE already have several mobile applications (some of them free) that are worth trying.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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