Waze vs Google Maps: Which is The Best App for Driving Directions?

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waze vs google maps

How Google Maps and Waze differ? Both apps are quite mature at this stage, having existed for more than a decade. That means both have comprehensive feature sets, and there's very little one can do that the other cannot. However, each has its advantages, and there are reasons you might want to choose one over the other.

Pitting Waze vs. Google Maps, we take a look at the respective strengths of each mapping navigation app, so you can pick the right one for you the next time.

Most users today use Google Maps as a navigation app even for car journeys or to get walking, biking directions. Some people use Waze to navigate the traffic and reach the set destination.

What, then, are the differences between Google Maps and Waze and why choose one or the other?

Let's start by saying that we have always installed both apps, both Google Maps and Waze, on our smartphones. Sometimes we also take a look at Apple Maps, which is the best gps app for iphone. The good news is that you can download them for free, one fills the gaps of the other and, above all, adapts to very specific usage scenarios. Although Google Maps has begun to inherit some features of Waze.

Indeed, the Mountain View company acquired Waze in June 2013, it is curious that it has not yet decided to integrate the two applications. But, in the end, it is perhaps good for users.

Why These Two Navigation Apps?

Whether you are looking for the route to go from a point a to point b, the fastest route to go home, to your work or if you need to optimize the route for your next road trip avoiding road closures, navigating the fastest route thanks to a GPS is everything you need.

If you drive for a rideshare company or you are a delivery driver, having the right directions can help you maximize your income.

Google, Waze are the best phone GPS apps, the most efficient and popular connected GPS applications in stores and they are both free.

Finally, they are both available on iOS and Android!

waze or google maps

Features and options

Google Maps is not just a navigation app: it is an app for consulting maps and a tool for accessing street view from mobile devices. Conversely, Waze is a pure satellite navigation app.

Both Waze and Google Maps do not need an always-on data connection to work, you can consult them without a network connection. In the case of Maps, it is advisable to download the areas o foreign countries on which you move in order to always use the so-called offline mode.

In the case of Waze there are no areas to select: as soon as you define a destination with the Internet connection available and working, the application creates a sort of cache with all the data on the path to follow.

As soon as Waze has established the path, before starting navigation, all the data collected will be downloaded, stored and used even in the absence of an Internet connection (the important thing is not to close Waze).

Waze is a "community-based " navigation app that brings social media to GPS.You can even link the application to Facebook, and be able to see where your friends are. Data is based on reports from the Waze community of users.

Recently, Google Maps added the crowd sourced tool for iPhone users that have the ability to report traffic issues on the Google Maps app like Waze users.

The app allows you to receive real-time traffic information on road conditions and the best routes to follow to save time, it allows you to get alerts about the presence of accidents, traffic information, dangerous situations, speed traps, police traps…

Waze offers users the opportunity to contribute, during the trip. Submitting incident reports by using the reporting tools is really easy. Just tap the icon at the bottom right and choose the type of report you want to send. Google Maps shows general traffic indications and reports any congestion but is unable to receive any feedback from other drivers.

Only with the most recent versions of Google Maps has support been introduced for indicating the presence of speed cameras along the route.

The reports are made in real time and drawn on the database also used by Waze: the nice thing is that by clicking on the Maps Options, users can report mobile speed cameras.

Waze is only suitable for getting turn-by-turn navigation and driving directions while Google Maps can be used to request driving directions for travel by car, public transport, on foot, by bike, by taxi and by Uber.

Not only. Possibility for the moment reserved for owners of a Google Pixel smartphone, Maps uses augmented reality to overlay real images with directions on the way to follow when moving on foot And the functionality also works really well and is very useful for getting around on foot in unknown cities.

Search and interface

Google Maps data provides useful information on commercial services: opening and closing times, menus in the case of restaurants, hotel prices, telephone numbers, direct booking for hotels and restaurants, special offers and so on. In the short term, by exploiting the information sent by users - often in the form of photos - Google Maps will also improve the database relating to restaurant cards. Waze does not foresee these possibilities.

Waze has a clean and stripped down interface, even when it comes to viewing maps. Google Maps is instead richer in this sense but also "less readable" in the car.

When using GPS like Tomtom, sometimes you are unable to find certain addresses. So, you have to type the postcode rather than the name of the city in order to be able to select the requested address. A real waste of time in addition to the appalling slowness and a touch screen under morphine.

Google and Waze by their simplicity win the point.

To see if Waze is down or for any kind of issues and outages we suggest you consult our guide to Downdetector.

Voice GPS Driving Directions

Google Maps supports voice search and thanks to the Google assistant it allows you to find points of interest nearby and start the navigation without ever physically interacting with the phone: Google Assistant improves again and responds to voice commands in English and more than

You can use Android Auto to get voice-guided navigation.

Waze supports a limited number of voice commands as explained.

The activation of voice commands is possible by choosing Audio and Voice instructions in the settings and then selecting Voice commands. However, speech recognition is only enabled manually, for example by touching the screen with three fingers.

By simply pronouncing Report or Navigation, you can send a report or activate navigation to home or to the workplace.

Google Maps is however not very customizable while Waze allows you to adjust every single aspect of its operation: it is even possible to use the guiding voice prompts of famous people.

By choosing the Audio and Voice Instructions item in the Waze settings, tapping Driving Instructions Voice and then Record a New Voice you can even record the various voice directions with your own voice or that of a loved one.

If you’re looking for a clear reason to choose one navigation over another, though, the voice prompt is it.

The voice of Google Maps is okay, however, especially in other languages than English, the names of the streets are said with a kind of accent that's unlike any other.

how much data does google maps use

Mobile Data Usage

Smartphones and apps keep improving, which means we need more and more data to use them.

You do not need to check on reddit to find the mobile data usage. If you are an iphone user:

  • Open Settings
  • Tap Mobile Data
  • Scroll down to see the mobile apps data consumption

So, how much data does gps use? When it comes to data consumption, Waze is very economical: it consumes just 500 KB-1 MB per hour while driving.

While Google Maps consumes an average of 5 MB per hour of driving. Most of Google Maps data use is incurred when initially searching for the destination and charting a course which we suggest you do on Wi-Fi.

To make it clear we made an infographic with a comparison of data usage of principal apps including of course Maps, Waze, Facebook and Youtube

Downloading offline maps allows you to reduce or almost eliminate data consumption while on the move.

When to use Waze and when to Google Maps

To travel by any means other than your own car, it is good to start Google Maps and let yourself be guided by its directions.

Especially for walking, make sure your phone is calibrated correctly otherwise you may receive conflicting directions or see your position not perfectly reproduced on the map.

By tapping the Go icon in Google Maps and then the last icon on the right (available only in larger cities) it is even possible to book a taxi or Uber ride by making the payment without ever putting your wallet in your hand.

To avoid car traffic jams, get free access to live traffic data and be reasonably sure you arrive on time, Waze is unrivaled. By accessing the main menu of the app (which can be called up by tapping the icon at the bottom left) and then choosing Planned, you can set an itinerary: after choosing the destination, Waze shows the recommended departure time and the estimated arrival time.

If traffic conditions change, Waze is able to alert the user by informing them of the best times to travel and arrive at their destination without too much difficulty.

Waze can also be integrated with your own calendar so that the app automatically knows times and destinations.

With Waze it is also possible to touch the Send ETA button, acronym for estimated time of arrival (or "estimated time of arrival") to send to one or more contacts (selectable from the phone book), the time in which it is likely you will arrive at your destination. By choosing Itineraries, as in Google Maps, it is possible to evaluate and take any alternative routes.

Waze is therefore the app to be preferred when traveling by car because you will automatically receive information on the location of speed cameras (fixed and mobile locations), on accidents, on dangers and on slowdowns. In case of heavy traffic it is possible to take an alternative route and arrive at your destination without too much delay.

In addition, the Waze app shows the upcoming gas stations with their prices and the logo of the owned company. If you want to save money on gas we suggest you consult our review to GetUpside and our article on how to get free gas.

Google Maps, on the other hand, remains an excellent choice for travel by public transport (even if Moovit is in this case the most popular urban mobility app. You can use it worldwide for public transit navigation, maps, schedules, real-time arrivals and more ), on foot or by taxi / Uber. It is also ideal for getting directions to nearby points of interest, gas stations, hotels, restaurants, bars and ATMs.

Find Your Destination With The Best Map App.

If you're wondering which route planner should switch to and the best navigation app of 2021 there's no better place to start than our review Waze vs Maps. At Bestreferraldriver.com we have both of them, we slightly prefer Google Maps which, however, has a very big shortcoming: the lack of speed limits however we really love the Waze carpool option.

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