I’ve just had a big road trip from Mareeba in Far North Queensland to Tasmania with my daughter. It was a fantastic trip.
I used Google Maps most of the way instead of standalone GPS.
Google Maps is fantastic but I had heard of WAZE, so I tried that as well.
Waze, which is another mapping app, is now owned by Google – they bought it back in 2013 for nearly 1 Billion US dollars! But although Google now owns it, it’s still a very different product.
The main difference is that it’s a crowd-based social network so it’s a community-based app.
Waze users can report (in real-time) traffic accidents, traffic jams, speed cameras, police checks, and any hazards at all. I noticed while travelling back up the Hume that cars abandoned on the side of the highway were reported, and therefore on the Waze app.
Google Maps is pure mapping and doesn’t have many of the features of Waze; things are changing though – some Waze features are being pushed to Google Maps.
Google Voice can work with Waze.
You can organise carpools with Waze, too.
Waze can let you know when you’re over the speed limit either visually or audibly, which is very handy!
Waze wins big time because of the user data – other Waze drivers report any hazards in real-time.
Coming up the Queensland Coast, in a few spots, I thought Waze would tell me when I was going over the speed limit – but it didn’t.
By this time I was used to this excellent feature and was relying on it – annoying that it failed to work in some areas.
This real-time information does come at a cost in data though – Waze will almost always use more data than Google Maps due to the real-time data updates, so if you are using Waze often – make sure you have a large mobile data plan.
The Google maps interface is more like a traditional map whereas Waze is far more modern and customisable.
You can have different voices (you can even have a favourite boy-band voice), as well as many languages other than English.
Waze is just for cars whereas Google Maps also gives you directions for trucks, bikes, walking, and public transport.
If you need the absolute quickest route somewhere in a highly-populated area Waze will almost always get you there quicker, so Waze would be brilliant for couriers, and other people who drive for a living.
I love both apps and will continue to use both – Waze for higher populated areas and Google Maps for country roads and less-populated areas.