by MG Siegler on Aug 10, 2010
If you commute to work every day, chances are you’re not alone. There are people all around you on the road doing the same thing. And some may be even going to the same place. But when you’re each in your own vehicle, you obviously can’t communicate and interact. Social mapmaking tool Waze is trying to help with that.
A new feature in their Waze 2.0 release is that you can now form and join groups. Maybe it’s a group that goes from San Francisco to Mountain View each day. Or maybe your group is one that regularly goes from New York City to the Hamptons on the weekends. Groups can really be anything, you just have to have similar driving patterns.
Why is that useful? Because someone else who regularly does the same drive as you might be able to point out useful things to you. Maybe they know the perfect place to get gas. Or the best diner to stop at along the way. Or maybe you want to chat with another group member (when you’re not driving, obviously), or follow them along their path. Think of it as a roving social network for drivers.
Another new feature of Waze 2.0 is personal gaming. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Waze is the gaming element — you’re encouraged to drive around places that people haven’t been before the earn points. As Waze continues to grow, it’s harder to find these areas, so the game isn’t as fun. But with Waze 2.0 you have your own gameboard based on only places you’ve been (so other people don’t count).
The new version also features updated cartography and animation, we’re told. Sadly, for now, the group feature will only be enabled for Waze’s iPhone and Android apps. You can look for those soon.