For those of you who don’t know, Waze is a mobile GPS app which updates itself by gathering the navigational and traffic data from its users. Ideally, given a large enough pool of users, it would provide optimal road data – traffic conditions, accidents, road hazards etc. When you see a hole in the road – you can update the app, and all the users driving there next time will get the update. When you pass by an accident site – update the app (right after you verify that everyone is safe and call 911), and people riding after you will know to expect delays.
But its not there yet. And not only because the users’ pools aren’t large enough, its because the app and the servers are just not mature enough.
1. Password recovery is horrible. Its not the first time I used the app, but last time I was disappointed with it was in 2009, and I wanted to continue using the same profile I set up then. The Android app on my phone refused to recognize my email at all and claimed no such account existed. Registering a new account with the same email didn’t work because they require one account per email and I already have one. -1 for Waze. Then I went online and tried to login through the web application. The password recovery app on the main web site did recognize my email, but sent me no less than 4 (four!!!) different new passwords.-2 for Waze. I tried each and every one of them, both online and on the phone, and none work. I then tried the online password recovery again, and this time it sent me a single password, which worked on the web page. On the phone it took me three attempts to login with it, including one after I succesfully logged in and then tried to go through some of the settings – and had to login again all of the sudden (note, in this case there’s a space provided for user and password, but there’s no login button anywhere on the screen. The app decides on its own when you’re finished typing and just uses the values to log you in. Or so it seems). -3 for Waze. Had it been someone else they would probably had given up long ago.
2. Location capabilities are horrible. I know my phone pretty well, it has a good GPS which can pin point my location very well on the Google map. So why is it that it takes minutes for Waze to put the pin on the map for my current location, and even then its wrong (by a couple of hundreds of yards at least)? Its not the phone because on Google Maps it works flawlessly. -4 for Waze. And when I drive – I’m used to certain behavior from my GPS. I expect the GPS to show where I am at any given time, while I’m moving. Not update the location one a minute, jumping the mile I’ve just driven on the map (and still putting the pin in a middle of a house while I’m driving on a big and wide street)? And its not that we have tall buildings around here to claim that its the GPS signal bouncing, no. Suburb America. Nothing special. When I’m driving with the Google Maps on, or my usual Garmin GPS – everything is fine. -5 for Waze.
3. Routing. I chose the fastest route to my home, which accidentally is also the shortest. Why would Waze rout me around half the city, twice as long route as it should have been? -6 for Waze.
4. Instructions – the only instruction I got from Waze while driving was to get on the highlighted route. Even when I was driving up the parking at my destination. -7 for Waze.
5. Recalculating the route – I would expect it to be able to do that, but after given the twice-as-long route home, I chose the usual fastest and shortest route I always take. I had to manually reset navigation for the app to recalculate the route when I was way too far from the original route I didn’t want to take. -8 for Waze.
6. On the web interface there’s an option to view the past routes. I couldn’t find anywhere a setting to the saving of this information. -9 for Waze. Hallo, privacy???? But no worries, when I clicked on the routes – they were all bogus, and they were all the same. More importantly – had nothing to do with the actual routes I’ve ever taken. -10 for Waze.
So on the scale of 1 to 10, Waze is an epic fail.
But if it would be working better, it would be a great app.
PS: Apparently I’m not the only one disappointed. Here’s another Waze review, that you might find helpful.