Product Review - Waze
About a year ago, Jeff Weiner wrote a blog post about building great products and he called out Waze as an app that is simple, intuitive and easy to use. I wanted to give Waze a try then but navigation wasn’t of daily use to me as I lived close to work. Recently, Waze recently introduced a couple of new features that complements navigation - the ability to plan your drive and also share it with others in realtime. I’ve become an active Waze user since and this blog post is about these two features.
Planning Your Drive
Last Thanksgiving, I was flying out of the Stockton Metropolitan airport - roughly 90 minutes drive from my place. Due to the long weekend, I was expecting the traffic to be worse and hence I was constantly calculating my start time so that I can reach the airport on time. (It turned out to be a 3 hour drive). At that time, I was hoping I didn’t have to do the calculation myself and Google Maps or Waze could automate this for me.
This feature does exactly that - lets you enter the time you would like to reach your destination and based on the traffic, would alert you to start accordingly. In the example above, if I want to reach office on time for a 10 AM meeting, Waze keeps checking the traffic and prompts me when I need to leave home. Simple, intuitive and genius indeed!
Sharing Your Drive
This feature lets you share your drive to other people (even if they’re not on Waze!) in realtime. As you drive to the destination, the people to whom you’ve shared the drive can see your current location and also track your ETA.
Co-ordination among multiple people who are meeting at the same destination is so much easier with this new feature. Another use case for this is in the enterprize side - I’m not sure if Waze has an enterprise version but if they do, I could see this being monetized for businesses like Truck Fleet Management, Postal Services and the likes.
I’ve always wondered why there have not been any feature improvements in Navigation for a long time - it has been more than 6 years since Google Maps had turn by turn navigation. (Maybe all it took now was a Product Manager at Waze who cared enough about reaching the destination on time.) In the last few months we’ve had Waze introduce 2 cool features and also Google Maps introducing the ability to search for locations along your drive. I hope there’s more coming!
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