Waze is a GPS-based social network and game based on your commute. The goal is to make your daily commute more rapid, more intelligent and more fun.
The Waze map provides traffic information, turn-by-turn navigation and user-generated reports. It uses crowd-sourced user-generated reports to show you where the heavy traffic is, and how to circumvent it. Waze is also a fun discovery tool by way of a pac-man style token-collecting game.
The difference between Waze and other navigation software is the crowd-sourced data. When Waze detects upcoming traffic along your original route, it will change your route and try to find a proven and efficient shortcut.
I like the idea of being in traffic and submitting a quick report to warn other users to go for a detour if it’s possible. It makes the jam you’re stuck in a little easier to cope with when you’re warning others in a Good Samaritan sort of way.
Waze is designed with safety in mind so it only allows you to enter info manually when you’re not moving. Otherwise, most of the interaction you have with the application is focused on the road and listening to the navigation queues.
The Waze application has had a successful run in Israel with an impressive critical mass of over 20% of smartphones running the application. The map becomes better and more useful the more people drive along its roads and submit data about them.
Waze currently supports many other smartphone platforms such as Windows Mobile, Symbian, Android and iPhone. Waze staffers are excited at the prospect of adding value to BlackBerry users’ commutes while getting an even better sampling of data from some of the savvy smartphone users around.
To participate in the beta, download Waze for BlackBerry from m.waze.com and start driving! The BlackBerry app is still in it’s early stages, so send your feedback to email@example.com and help out their development team. Waze is available for a select group of BlackBerry models, namely the Curve 8900, Bold 9000, Tour 9630 and Bold 9700.
In celebration of their BlackBerry release, they’re also conducting a contest featuring BlackBerry “road goodies”, small icons worth bonus points scattered all over the waze maps. From May 4 to May 14, 2010, the user who collects the most BlackBerry “road goodies” along their daily commute will be rewarded with a brand new iPad. Check out the contest details here.