You'd expect an application relying on crowdsourcing to get better as the number of users increases. Almost everybody in my city uses Waze for navigation, not only to get to their destinations faster but also to be in the know about what happens on the road.
However, as a long-time Waze user, I couldn't ignore the problems plaguing the application lately. Waze sometimes loses GPS tracking and can no longer follow you on the map, certain reports come and go with new updates, and the suggested routes are sometimes so ridiculous that they add hours to your journey.
The most recent bug turns Waze on Android Auto into a math professor. The application no longer displays the journey time in the hours and minutes format but only in minutes. If you leave on a long journey that takes several hours, you'll see ridiculous numbers on the screen, such as 643 minutes left to the destination. You'll have to do the conversion yourselves, or just ignore the bug or keep an eye on the ETA (still displayed correctly, fortunately).
Waze clocked me at 353 kph (that's about 219 miles per hour, for our American friends) in a parking lot. As you can see in the screenshot, that was, well, way over the 5 kph limit, as Waze somehow believed I was no longer in a car but in a jet I parked in front of my local supermarket.
The speed bug is ridiculous and doesn't make any sense. I swear I don't own a Veyron (I wish, but I don't), and there's no way to go that fast in a shopping center anyway. Waze thought I was about to take off, and it took several minutes to realize I was still on the ground, traveling at legal city speeds.
It's only the latest in a series of bugs I have encountered lately, and like many other Waze users, I'm fed up. Not long ago, I wrote this exclusive article to detail Google's plans regarding a possible Waze integration into Google Maps. The search giant wasn't planning (and still isn't, according to my sources) to merge Waze and Google Maps, keeping the two applications on the market and trying to make them look different.
While Google has no intention to merge the two, it certainly feels like the company is trying to make Waze worse and make everybody move to Google Maps. I'm not the only one who thinks this way. Just check out the forums or social platforms, and you'll realize that people have been struggling with Waze for too long.
Unfortunately for users, Waze has no real competitor in this space. Building a crowdsourced traffic reporting system is challenging, and it won't work without a gigantic user base to power it. Many have tried to copy Waze's success story, but they eventually failed because they didn't have the users to contribute with traffic data.
Google Maps feels like the only good Waze replacement, and the Mountain View-based search giant has every reason to be happy about it. I don't buy conspiracy theories claiming Google makes Waze worse to push users to Google Maps, but it does feel this way. And no matter if it's true or not, it works, as I and others got fed up with Waze's ridiculous bugs and decided to jump ship.