When it comes to mapping applications, Waze is probably the most fun one out there. It turns turn-by-turn navigation into a social experience, and a game (think: Pac-Man). It also happens to be free. And a few new features rolling out in the updated iPhone app today make it even more interesting.
The biggest new feature is the use of geolocated tweets for realtime traffic updates. One of Waze’s core features is the ability to send and get realtime traffic info as you use it in your car on the road. But that obviously requires that people use Waze to send those reports. But with Twitter integration, Waze can scan tweets sent from anywhere to find information about things like bad traffic or accidents on the road.
This is done “in a smart way — we’re only bringing in tweets relevant to traffic road conditions,” Waze’s Di-Ann Eisnor tells us. Waze is actually using a mixture of geotagged tweets and ones from relevant sources (such as the Department of Transportation) and running them through an algorithm to make sure they only show relevant ones in the app.
Twitter users can also ensure Waze will get their reports as quickly as possible by including the hashtag “#wazelive” in their tweets. And you’ll be able to see geotagged tweets on the map itself.
Another big addition to Waze is Facebook and Foursquare integration. With this new Facebook integration, you’ll be able to see your Facebook friends within Waze as they move around the map. These friends have different icons from regular Waze users to distinguish them.
With the Foursquare integration, Waze users can check-in to various places from within the app. Doing so in the correct way will unlock a “Road Warrior” badge.
But what may be the most important new feature in the iPhone app is the new iOS 4 functionality – including background location. This means that you can now use Waze even when you don’t have the app open (something which was previously possible on the Android version).
You can find the newest version of Waze in the App Store here (the new app was just approved so it may take a little bit of time to show up). It’s a free download.
Waze is a social traffic & navigation app based on the world’s largest community of drivers sharing real time road info and contributing to the “common good” out there on the road. By simply driving around with Waze open users passively contribute traffic and other road data. Users can take a more active role by sharing road reports on accidents, police traps, or any other hazards along the way, helping to give other users in the area a ‘heads-up’...
Created in 2006, Twitter is a global real-time communications platform with 400 million monthly visitors to twitter.com, more than 200 million monthly active users around the world. We see a billion tweets every 2.5 days on every conceivable topic. World leaders, major athletes, star performers, news organizations and entertainment outlets are among the millions of active Twitter accounts through which users can truly get the pulse of the planet.
Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 weeks, half of the schools in the Boston area began demanding a Facebook network. Zuckerberg immediately recruited his friends Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes, and Eduardo Saverin to help build Facebook, and within four months, Facebook added 30 more college networks. The original...
Foursquare is a geographical location based social network that incorporates gaming elements. Users share their location with friends by “checking in” via a smartphone app or by text message. Points are awarded for checking in at various venues. Users can connect their Foursquare accounts to their Twitter and Facebook accounts, which can update when a check in is registered. By checking in a certain number of times, or in different locations, users can collect virtual badges. In addition, users...