Android has had free turn-by-turn navigation for as long as we can remember; Apple added the feature in its latest version, but the experience was panned for inaccuracies and inconsistent performance.
Waze, on the other hand, has been quietly building a strong community in its social navigation software for the last few years. The service relies on traffic updates from other users, and uses this crowdsourced information to determine the best route to a particular place. If traffic is snarled on the highway, Waze will quickly and intelligently redirect you to for the shortest possible trip. It’s a great app and I’ve been using it for months. The company is announcing, along with an update, that Waze has broached 30 million users, an increase of 10 million from June.
Today’s update to version 3.5 adds some polish to the Android and iOS apps, along with new social features. Users can login using Facebook’s Social Graph, allowing friends to link up and arrange meeting points, with estimated times of arrival for each car. You can send a pickup request to friends or family, so they can see where you are and you can see how long it will take them to get there. It’s very, very smart.
There’s also a new UI with higher-quality buttons and icons that retain the app’s cartoony quality but gets rid of its bargain-basement design ethic.