Waze Beyond the Basics

Readers of our site know that I am a big fan of Waze.  I professed my fondness for this terrific application in a prior article which you can read here.  If you have not downloaded Waze yet, do it.  It is a free application, now owned by Google that provides one of the most powerful GPS experiences available including live traffic routing.

I called this article Waze Beyond the Basics because it sounded better than Waze Part Two.  After using Waze for over six months, I have become aware of features that were not intuitive upon initial use.  Some of the features are pretty useful and some are pretty annoying.

A really useful feature is to “Share My Drive”.  A little bit of a stalker feature that only you can invoke.  This is useful when driving home in bad weather when someone is worried about you.  It’s also useful when someone is expecting you and wants to know about when you will arrive.  To activate this feature, go to the friends bubble within the active map and select “Share My Drive” under the Get in Touch section.  Sect your friend or friends and share your drive.  This feature only works when you are actively navigating.  If you are simply driving without a selected destination, this feature will not work.  Activate this feature after you have selected your destination.

I became aware of the next feature when I was driving down the New Jersey Parkway and heard an antique horn beeping at me.  My wife who was with me asked me what the sound was.  We looked around nut everyone was driving at a pretty fast speed and nothing that looked like an antique car.  I looked up at my phone which was mounted on the windshield and saw that a friend honked at me.  This is a feature that I probably will put into the annoying category.  To annoy your friends, simply click on the friend bubble within the map view, select the friend you want to annoy and press the “Beep Beep” button under the Get in Touch section.

I also discovered that Waze can be controlled by voice commands.  Waze has the ability to accept user contributions such as reporting heavy traffic, potholes or road kill (to name a few).  It’s dangerous to key this in while driving so Waze now permits voice commands for this type of activity and many other commands.  To activate voice command you can tape the screen with three fingers or set it up to activate with a wave of your hand.  Waze will then ask you for a command and you can say things such as “report traffic” or “drive home”.  Waze then reacts the same way as if you had typed in the commands manually.

The last feature to discuss is the off button.  I became aware of this feature the hard way and now always use it.  Sometime, when navigating, Waze may not think you are there yet even though you really are.  Waze keeps staying active and still sucks significant battery resources.  You can and should deactivate Waze when not in use by pressing the off button which is found on the main menu which is activated by pressing the button on the left bottom corner.  I became aware of this feature painfully when attending a funeral.  I walked into the church, approached the casket and had Waze tell me “you have reached your destination”.  Fortunately it added some levity to a sad situation but I still wish that didn’t happen.

If you would like to read a good article on phone mounts which will make using Waze more fun, you may view it here.