Waze – Geolocation emerges from its troubled teens and becomes a useful member of society

You may have seen the other day that GPS navigation system Waze hit 10m users. It’s a social tool that aggregates user reports on traffic, accidents and the like. I’m a recent convert and signed up a few months ago, since then it’s become a part of my daily commute. If any of you have experienced the vagaries of rush hour traffic on the A3 you’ll understand that drivers need all the help they can get.

As a consumer my prerequisites for downloading a geolocation app have to fulfil at least 3 of the following. Here’s how Waze hits those targets:

  • Collaborative – Waze uses thousands of users’ traffic reports to create a map of road congestion and allows them to send messages in real time to update each other. Its success rests on the community spirit of its users
  • Timely – this all happens in real time, a boon for an audience where seconds count
  • Useful – I’ve avoided innumerable traffic jams with this tool and anything that can make the daily commute less painful and for free gets my thumbs up
  • Fully integrates with my existing social profiles without superseding them – this is not a Foursquare, inundating friends with useless and annoying updates. It fulfils a purpose and doesn’t pretend to be a Facebook replacement. Should the jam be particularly bad you can send your update to Twitter or Facebook to alert your wider following, but that’s it. Waze knows its limits

Download it for your iPhone, Android or Blackberry here. My username is rupinjapan, so if you see a Transit wrapped round a traffic light on the Cobham bypass let me know ahead of time.

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