Waze iPhone app adds voice alerts

Waze iPhone app adds real-time voice alerts

Waze iPhone app adds real-time voice alertsThe Waze iPhone app continues to improve, as the free, crowd-sourced navigation app has just added real-time voice alerts.

As you may know, the Waze iPhone app provides free navigation information by relying on users to provide the data. The voice alerts takes this one step further, as the company is hoping that users will be willing to give voice alerts about upcoming road hazards.

For example, users with the new Waze iPhone app at the recent Super Bowl could have said the roads leading up to the stadium were icy or full of sleet. Ideally, another user would be able to hear this and avoid this type of hazard.

“Everyday, drivers are faced with any number of dangers on the road including ice, accidents, and flooding for example. The unpredictable nature of these hazards and lack of immediate road data leaves drivers vulnerable to the conditions ahead,” said Noam Bardin, CEO of Waze, in a prepared statement. “The only way this information can be collected and distributed in real-time is by the initiative of group-minded individuals and a means to warn their fellow drivers.”

The real-time voice alerts will be hitting the Wave iPhone app first and then updates are promised which will bring this to the Android, BlackBerry and other platforms.

While this is a neat feature, it’s going to be a tough road for the company if it is looking to compete with the Google Maps app. Not only is this preloaded on the iPhone, Android and many other devices, Google continues to improve its mapping service.

Google Maps already offers free turn-by-turn navigation and it even includes cool things like 3D renderings of building thanks to the vector graphics. The company also added check-in functionality with its latest update.

Still, Waze is continuing to provide some cool stuff and, at the very least, it is building some great technology that is likely very attractive to some larger entity.

  • Marin—

    Good piece and Waze is definitely on the right track with voice alerts.

    Two points to add:

    1) I’ve used Waze and outside of the distracted driving issue, I’ve found reporting incidents and obtaining the status of traffic conditions to be easy and effective (I’ve used the app–as “the passenger”–on the busy Boston–New York–Washington, DC corridor with a critical mass of helpful users).

    2) Waze will find that voice alerts work. My company’s app/service, TrafficTalk (www.traffictalk.info or @traffictalk) has validated the concept of users taking the time to contribute updates on traffic conditions by voice. We recently launched the service in the top 20 most congested cities, and we’re already getting traction in several markets. There’s a cool recording of an actual conversation on the TrafficTalk home page–worth the 90 seconds to hear the clip.

    We’ve taken the basic concept of CB Radio conversations that connect drivers sharing the same roads and added mobile technology and a few new twists, making mass-market access to LIVE, voice-based traffic information possible for the first time. If you want to check us out, you can download the free iPhone app or connect to the free service from ANY phone by obtaining the access numbers and codes for your closest TrafficTalk Community from the website.

    We’re finding that drivers are helping each other out of traffic through “live voice”–a valuable use of social networking/crowdsourcing and technology. Glad to see Waze adding voice alerts to the app—look forward to using the new feature.

    Steve Stern
    Co-Founder, TrafficTalk

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