Google-owned navigation app Waze is gaining a number of new product features as well as a partnership with Amazon Music, the company announced at its first major virtual event, Waze On. Among the changes, Waze is gaining personalized recommendations based on a user’s trip history, as well as traffic notifications, ETA improvements, lane suggestions, expanded Google Assistant integration and more.
Waze’s trip suggestions are one of the more notable new features, as they tap into the Waze user’s historical driving patterns to make inferences about where the user may be headed next. The feature, which will roll out next month, will be based on trips the user took in the past as well as the locations they’ve recently driven to, Waze says. The suggestions will offer the driver a visual overview of their trip, including details like the time the trip will take and the expected traffic.
Another new feature, traffic notifications, will alert users when traffic begins to build up or the driver risks being late on both favorite and frequent destinations, as well as one-time planned drives. These will also arrive next month, Waze noted.
Among the smarter improvements is a new addition called Lane Guidance. As the name suggests, Waze will now be able to tell drivers what lane to be in when they’re merging or exiting a stretch of highway. This feature is rolling out now.
Waze also updated its ETA calculations in areas where there are fewer drivers — a reflection of the impact the pandemic has had on historical driving patterns. With some areas seeing fewer cars on the road due to companies’ embrace of remote work, Waze says it’s been harder to predict the changing flow of traffic. The update should help it take into account the reduction in traffic when making calculations in some areas.
In a much-needed update, users will now be able to save their itinerary for a planned drive directly to the Waze app from the Live Map feature on the web.
Waze has also expanded Google Assistant integration to French, Spanish and Portuguese-speaking Waze users.
The Waze Carpool service received a few updates, too. It now offers instant booking and auto approve features for drivers and riders. Drivers can also get real-time ride requests as they begin a drive, allowing them to pick up more riders along the way.
Amazon Music, meanwhile, joined the Waze Audio Player partner program, which allows Waze users to listen to third-party services from Waze’s audio player. Amazon Music users will be able to access the Waze app from the music app, as well. The audio program itself is not new. Waze already works with other music and audio partners, including Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, YouTube Music, Deezer, TIDAL, Stitcher, iHeartRadio, NPR One, Scribd and others.
Waze at the event said it now sees more than 140 million users worldwide per month contributing to the community by driving over 36 billion kilometers and reporting over 70 million incidents in 185 countries.