Waze vs. Google Maps: The complete guide

Whether driving for a rideshare company or going somewhere when you’re not working, getting the appropriate directions is critical. For many drivers, deciding on the finest navigation software is difficult between two top contenders: Waze vs. Google Maps.

With so many navigation app choices available these days, each one vying to be your download of choice, it’s no surprise that navigation apps are among the most popular. However, while every app will tout its own unique advantages, there’s probably one that stands out above the rest for your specific requirements.

Despite the many choices for navigation available, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that two applications appear at the top of every list: Google Maps and Waze. In contrast, drivers across the country are quick to quarrel about them, similar to how technology users debate between an Apple iPhone or an Android phone.

This article will compare Waze and Google Maps, two of the most popular navigation software on the market today.

We’ve finally decided to end the quarrel and provide a fair, unbiased comparison of the two apps, so you’ll know which is best for you.

Waze vs. Google Maps: The Basics

Let’s clarify the two rivals before we get started. Google Maps and Waze are both Google-owned global mapping apps designed for iPhone and Android devices, but both have maintained their own user bases. Even though both programs are classified as navigation apps, users may readily distinguish them.

Google Maps is undoubtedly the most well-known application on Android. It was founded in 2005 and is one of the early mapping platforms, with over 130 million more users than Waze in the United States.

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Because it provides high-quality directions for various activities, Google Maps has long been recognized as the gold standard in navigation. It also offers walking, cycling, and even public transportation instructions.

They’re adding more community-focused features to the app, but it’s all about Google’s massive mapping control. On the other hand, Waze is a driver-focused app developed in 2008 and acquired by Google Maps five years later.

The most well-known feature of the service is its community-driven traffic information, which it obtains from its users. When the Waze app opens, it takes a more modern approach, with a minimalist (albeit somewhat cartoonish) design compared to Google Maps’ classic appearance.

Drivers can share real-time information on accidents, traffic problems, speed limits, speed traps, and other travel data to assist other drivers in getting to their destination as quickly as possible.

While these two navigation apps are heavy contenders, it’s worth noting again that they share the same parent company: Google. Google acquired Waze for more than a billion dollars in 2013, but since then, the apps have continued to operate independently.

The city navigation apps may provide similar services in getting you around but give you two distinct options. However, if the app’s actual functionality is what matters most to you, you’ll need to understand how Waze and Google Maps work.

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The Key Differences Between Google Maps and Waze

Google Maps and Waze are both turn-by-turn navigation apps. While both provide similar services, there are a few significant differences between them:

  • Waze is more community-oriented than Google Maps, which is data-driven.
  • Waze is primarily a vehicle navigation app, while Google Maps has walking, driving, bicycling, and public transportation directions. They also include built-in “Explore” functions that allow users to view events, reviews, photographs, points of interest, and other information. There’s even a “street view” option to get an up-close look at things on the ground.
  • Waze needs a connection to the Internet, while Google Maps is available offline.
  • Google Maps offers details about the business, such as menus and hours, whereas Waze does not.
  • Waze provides real-time information such as road closures, vehicle obstructions, traffic warnings, and real-time traffic conditions based on user behaviour. Google Maps has just begun to offer some of these features.
  • Google Maps uses a conventional navigation system, whereas Waze has a modern and minimalist design language.
  • Google Maps is rather basic, whereas Waze provides a significant level of personalization (including celebrity voices!))
  • Tesla vehicles come standard with Google Maps, but you must download Tesla Waze if you wish to use Waze in a Tesla.

In a nutshell, Google Maps is a simple yet powerful navigation tool that selects the quickest and most efficient route. Waze gathers data from a large number of users and uses it to customize your journey, ensuring that you take the most direct road without delays or other annoyances.

Real-Time Data

Although it’s unknown how much data is shared between the two applications, Waze and Google Maps are known to collect real-time traffic information from users who are already on the road. As a result, both applications can provide exact directions that consider traffic snarls, major road closings, and more.

In addition, Waze’s crowd-sourcing approach shines in this area. Your ETA should be correct on both platforms, too. Nonetheless, Waze’s community-sourcing model shows its worth here.

Users of the Waze app may submit information about road hazards, local street closures, and vehicle accidents that your Google Maps software may not immediately pick up on, so you’ll have an extra layer of real-time accuracy.

Although Google Maps has included extra capabilities in recent years to accommodate user-generated data, they aren’t well-known or widely used.

Waze emphasizes user reports on its homepage. Of course, this doesn’t imply that Waze always provides the most significant driving directions.

Waze relies more on community reports. As a result, it flourishes in major cities — especially Boston, New York City, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and Chicago — but isn’t always the best map app for people in smaller towns or rural areas.

Winner: Waze

We like the Waze user interface because it offers much more practical information. You may quickly determine the source of a traffic jam or whether there have been reports of police cars approaching.

Dylan Miller

I am a Chicago native and regular contributor to "Locar Deals" and "Cars Cache". I have a master's degree in English, am an automobile content creation specialist, and have written professionally for a variety of automotive companies over the past few years. I write on a variety of vehicles, from high-end luxury cars to ten-year-old gas guzzlers and everything in between. And I love sharing valuable car buying tips with consumers from all walks of life.

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