What's the best way of knowing how to travel around an area? A satnav app like TomTom? That would be an easy thing to assume but it's actually the wrong answer. The best way to explore anywhere is via local knowledge, right down to knowing where the regular traffic hotspots are or a new set of roadworks, recently installed in the area.
Waze has done a pretty good job in the past of providing social mobile navigation that combines gaming and crowd-sourcing in order to provide real-time, live maps and data. We already covered how useful Waze was last year, but it's now even better thanks to a significant update in the form of 3.0.
Waze 3.0 has had its entire UI redesigned in order to implement a new and more minimalist interface. Two large buttons form the focus for much of the app, ensuring it's easy to use. It's also pretty glorious to look at with cutesy logos making for a much more attractive appearance than what we all know and are used to with navigational apps.
A new search engine means that Waze is fully integrated with Yelp, Foursquare and Bing. This means it's easy for users to search for, navigate to and check-in at numerous destinations they might not have already known about. Such functionality makes for exciting developments such as real-time POIs (Points of Interest) such as the recent OccupyWallStreet protests and other similar fast moving events.
A wall type communication system has been added to Waze Groups, enabling users to chat with others in the area. A Waze mood feature provides more social networking fun, also.
Full text to speech functionality has been added for US and Canadian users along with other minor but ever useful changes such as the speed boost that Waze has profited from.
All these features put together means that Waze is now a pretty intelligent and worthwhile alternative to other Sat Nav products, even more so given the fact that it costs absolutely nothing to download!