One of the best features in Waze is, let’s face it, the ability for people to report the position of hazards ranging from construction to traffic jams to, ahem, cops. Okay, I especially loved the cop-locating feature… not to say I used it nefariously or anything, but in a way it was sort of like evening the playing field if you know what I mean. Reporting these items—while driving—can be very risky. Duh.
But there’s just something interesting about seeing the other Wazer’s passing by that draws you in to the app. It makes everyone on the road seem more connected somehow. There was a sense of community even though I never tried the chat feature. People were looking out for each other and that was cool.
I also really loved the way that Waze gamified driving. Every so often there would appear a piece of digital candy I would gobble up as I drove along earning points. Of course Waze just wanted my data so it could be pooled with data from other drivers, but I was fine with that. It make the system work for everyone.
But it was exactly this gamification that make it uninstall Waze. More specifically it was a leaf that appeared on the map. As I looked over to investigate—my attention diverted from actually driving—I nearly got into what would have been a very dangerous accident with a semi truck.
It was one of those breath-stealing moments when you realize your life nearly ended and you’re body sort of goes numb with the shock from that realization.
And all for a leaf. I’m not sure what the leaf represented. It was some sort of fall/seasonal thing I suppose. But it wasn’t worth my life.
As soon as I got home I uninstalled Waze. And I was sad about it because I genuinely felt it was better than Google Maps or Apple Maps or any other mapping/GPS software I had ever tried. It was my favorite navigational app.
Waze is simply too interesting (in a trivial sort of way) for a driver of a moving vehicle. As much as I loved Waze, I think it needs to go. Google should kill it off. Or make it voice only.
Actually, now that I think about it, I really like that idea. Make the candy pieces and seasonal items that appear sonic rather than visual. It’s just as affective to learn that I earned some points from a beep and a voice than from a peep.
Waze, for me at least, turned out to be an app/service that was really cool but only somewhat useful. I would have preferred to live with it, but I can quite easily live without it. It’s a nice to have but not a must-have. Come to think of it, I really feel that, in it’s current form, it’s a must-NOT-have.
There’s a reason why some cars are capable of playing content or browsing the web on their main console screen—but only when they aren’t moving. In my car, I can type in an address on the built-in GPS interface only when I’m in park. That’s probably a very good thing, although I admit there are times when it feels frustrating.
I think that, in many ways, people today have become addicted to being connected to technology or to the Internet or to each other in some way or another. We don’t like when there is “down time.”
Waze made my drive feel more connected, but I’d rather feel alive.
If I were you, I’d uninstall Waze immediately. Just my two cents.