Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Tech Tuesday @Waze

Most of you have likely seen Fox5 use this in the mornings.  It's an app called WAZE.  A community sourced application that will give you the status of traffic and a lot more.  I've been playing with it since around January.  I still haven't figured it all out, but if you have a smart phone it's worth checking out.

I've used it while driving on 85 to see where the back ups are so that I can go around and I've used it on the surface streets in downtown Atlanta.  It does a great job of warning me (verbally!) when there's something ahead.   It will tell me there are police ahead (whether waiting for speeders or otherwise), construction, lane closures, etc.  All information provided by other drivers.  When I first started using the app, I was concerned about taking my attention away from the road long enough to file a report.  I've since learned that it has a voice interface that allows you to speak to the app instead.  Makes sense when you think of it, it just took me a while to think of it.

Another cool feature I found was that since I use google calendar, it will talk to my calendar and pull up the addresses for appointments.  Assuming, of course, that I've put the address in to my calendar as well.  It can then be told to navigate there, helping me figure out where I'm going.  It's just as accurate as my gps, with a lot less hassle of typing the address in.

It has a cute interface that as you drive more with it running, it gives you points.  The more points you earn, the more cute little icons you can use for your car.  Right now I'm "driving" around as a duck.  You can compete against friends, as well as navigate with friends so that you can see where they are if you're meeting up.

The big downside that I've found is that it kills the battery on my phone the more I run it, so I generally have my phone plugged in while using it.  I haven't got it all figured out yet, though.  However, that's my tech tip (or tech app) for today.
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