Android Candy: Waze Redux

Back in 2014, I highlighted Waze, which is a turn-by-turn GPS navigation program created by a startup in Israel. That company was bought by Google, but it still remains independent, at least for now. (It does share some data behind the scenes, but it functions differently when it comes to routing.)

(Image from https://www.waze.com)

Although I had very bad luck with Waze early on, I recently used it on a cross-country trip, and it was amazing. I still have unpleasant memories of Waze trying to force me to turn off an overpass and having it rout me to an off-ramp only to get back on the on-ramp immediately. I'm happy to say, however, those issues seem to be resolved. In fact, it was a very pleasant experience!

Not only was the navigation reliable (and murder-free), but it has a unique way of saving time by taking less-traveled routes. Last year when I was driving through Atlanta, Georgia, I got stuck in traffic for hours using my Garmin GPS. This year, Waze took me into corn fields in order to avoid traffic jams in Nashville. I'll admit, I was a bit worried when GPS advised me to turn on a poorly maintained country road, but in the end, it saved me hours of monotonous city traffic.

The TL;DR truth is, Waze has gotten to the point where it's now my favorite GPS app. Plus, if your passenger is bored, it's fun to report speed traps and hazards on the road. All that input makes for better driving, which makes family vacations far more enjoyable! Check it out in the Google Play store today. Waze is still free, and you'd be silly not to give it a test drive.

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Shawn Powers is a Linux Journal Associate Editor. You might find him on IRC, Twitter, or training IT pros at CBT Nuggets.