Waze is a great app that runs on the great idea of crowdsourcing map creation, updates, and traffic status. Every user contributes variables like their location and speed, and can proactively report accidents or other traffic issues. The data is sent to the server where it is processed and used to optimize user routes, making driving experiences better for everyone involved. You contribute your share to the community and you get valuable information in return.

Waze also utilizes a gamification model that rewards users with points and badges for desired behaviors like reporting road hazards and allows users to thank one another for their reports. Personally, I don’t give a damn about the points and badges—I’ve been a Waze user for years, and they never meant anything tangible to me. The thanking mechanism is nice, however, because it provides feedback that my reports were beneficial to others, which encourages me to contribute my share and report next time.

It’s all about helping the community when you can, and about being helped when you need it. It’s not about getting to know the Waze community or about making friends, and that’s what makes Waze a crowdsourcing app rather than a social app (and a damn good one: according to Yahoo! report, in June of 2013, Waze had nearly 50 million users!).

Waze is on the wrong route of “What can users do for me?” instead of “What can I do for users?” blvd

Lately, Waze has changed things up a bit, adding social features of its own and pushing away other social competitors from the main usage course. These changes seem to suggest that Waze is aiming for the social arena where communities are established around members sharing personal information.

This is how the “share drive” screen looked in previous versions (Android in this case). Direct share was available via e-mail, text, or Facebook. The <More> button was used to open the standard sharing screen of the platform and you could select other apps. All that seemed to be missing was the option to configure the three buttons next to <More> and replace them with my favorite apps (e.g. add Whatsapp, omit FB) in order to regularly share drive info or my ETA with friends on those apps.

Old Waze sharing screen

Old Version of Sharing Screen

Current Waze sharing screen

Current Version of Sharing Screen

Recently, Waze has instituted a new approach that sends tentacles into users’ Google contacts, cross-checking for other Waze users, and putting them up front in a cumbersome display of tiny thumbnails that are often unrecognizable. The whole thing seems designed to make the user share drive info using Waze while ensuring the user on the other end gets it via Waze. The thing is, in most cases, the user who is driving only needs to share their ETA, which it is preferrably done by sending a text message.

This desire to easily share information with people who are not necessarily Waze users has been overlooked in favor of trying to create a self-contained social network. Instead of moving more relevant sharing tools forward, the ones I used to enjoy have been concealed. Now, if I want to send a text message, I need to tap the ‘More sending options’ link and look for the texting app in the (long) list of apps.

It seems obvious that after being taken over by Google, Waze is trying to move from being a crowdsourcing app to being a social network. I think this move finds Waze driving on the wrong route of “What can users do for me?” instead of staying on “What can I do for users?” boulevard—a sad change in direction for an app with so much to offer.

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WAZE, since google has changed it so much, sucks, is worthless, ad's keep poping up covering the screen and a big distraction while driving making use waze for any legitame map while driving wothless, dangerous that I decided to go back to traditional GPS. The social network ascpect of it is useless. The original Waze was great and helpful. Today looks like less people are using it, in my area, therfore not a much crowdsourced data to go by frquently missing hazards or other issues on the map. USe to could indicate a hazard as no longer there or still there to keep the map updated, changed to like or dislike, WHAT THE HELL IS THAT ABOUT! absolutly USELESS!

I disagree; your commentary is colored by the Android experience. Contacts aren’t generated from G+ or Google, but rather your PHONE. Waze isn't trying to be a social network, it’s trying to move away from social networks, as evidenced by your example of removing the social networks in favor of SMS messages from the App to your recipient. 

Nicholas, the only immediate workflow is one who utilize the other Wazers' thumbnails. Text/SMS, Whatsapp and all other apps are hidden under the "More sending options" and they require more bother and more time (sometimes while driving). That's not how you supposed to support users and how you should allow them control and freedom. And it certainly does not provide the basics, in case your contact is not a Waze user -- in that case you MUST go through the "More sending options".

in case your contact is not a Waze user -- in that case you MUST go through the "More sending options".

This is simply not true. In the confirmation screen after starting a drive, tap the anonymous looking avatar with the + sign and all your phone's contacts are listed, not just waze contacts. I know because my grandfather's cell phone is listed here and he's not on Waze, Facebook, G+, Twitter, or any other social network. Your Waze "friends" have an indication next to their name, but the rest are you phone's contats.

Before questioning my integrity, why not consider different versions of the SW!In my (Android) version of Waze, the + sign leads me to dead end with a statement that I don't have any freinds in Waze.

I'm completely agree. All of this social stuff isn't working good. I hope it will be better in the future and really waiting they will add direct sharing via Whatsapp (in single click and not multiple  as it now )

Waze is a DRIVING APP. That why they have a reponsibility to be dirving focused, since safety is involved.

Even though its a great app realy (I am one of the first users) its more and more moving away from that focuss. I think its a mistake. They shall employ a safety and HMI teams to improve. All the Bla Bla makes drivers loose focus and risk themselves. 

And, I still think its great!

Shay,

I didn't get the underlying message of this post - event the post title is not complete.

What you're actually trying to say?

For me it's a mix of various, unrelated thoughts, such as :

1. Waze is great

2. Waze gamification sucks

3. Waze is crowdsourcing app and not social app

4. Sharing options are poor

5. Etc.