Google’s own navigation app Waze receives a number of new product features and a partnership with Amazon Music, as the company announced at its first major virtual event, Waze On. Among the changes, Waze will receive personalized recommendations based on a user’s travel history, as well as traffic notifications, ETA improvements, lane suggestions, advanced Google Assistant integration, and more.
Waze’s travel suggestions are one of the most notable new features as they take advantage of the Waze user’s historical driving patterns to infer where the user might be going next. The feature, which will roll out next month, is based on trips the user has taken in the past as well as the places they have recently driven, Waze says. The suggestions provide the driver with a visual overview of their journey, including details such as the time the journey will take and expected traffic.
Another new feature, Traffic Alerts, warns users when traffic is building up or the driver is taking the risk of being late for both preferred and frequent destinations, as well as one-time trips. Those will arrive next month as well, Waze noted.
Among the smarter improvements is a new addition called Lane Guidance. As the name suggests, Waze can now tell drivers which lane to be in when they come together or exit a section of the freeway. This function is now being introduced.
Waze also updated its ETA calculations in areas where there are fewer drivers – a reflection of the impact the pandemic had on historical driving patterns. With fewer cars in some areas due to the fact that companies do remote work, Waze says it is harder to predict the changing flow of traffic. The update is intended to help take the reduction in data traffic into account in calculations in some areas.
In a much-needed update, users can now save their travel route for a planned trip directly to the Waze app using the live map function on the web.
Waze has expanded the integration of Google Assistant to French, Spanish, and Portuguese-speaking Waze users.
The Waze car pool service also received some updates. It now offers instant booking and automatic approval functions for drivers and drivers. Drivers can also receive real-time driving requests at the start of a trip, so they can pick up more drivers along the way.
Amazon Music has since joined the Waze Audio Player affiliate program, which allows Waze users to listen to third-party services through Waze’s audio player. Amazon Music users can also access the Waze app through the Music app. 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 said at the event that now more than 140 million users worldwide each month contribute to the community by driving 36 billion kilometers and reporting over 70 million incidents in 185 countries.