Israeli startup Waze has released an update for its iOS GPS navigation app, adding hands-free crowd sourcing to its arsenal.

There are already plenty of GPS navigation apps on the App Store with TomTom being one of our favorites, but Waze is a little bit different in that it uses crowd sourcing as a means of measuring traffic congestion and accidents. The reliance on humans reporting such issues is both its strong and its weak point.

While the use of real people to build a map of what is really going on should make for a more accurate navigational experience, it also means that the service just plain fails to work if people don’t take the time to check in. This latest update should help alleviate that particular issue…

It could be argued that Siri would be the best way to add hands-free activation to Waze, but with Apple dragging its heals in the API stakes, the company has decided to take matters into its own hands by using the iPhone’s proximity sensor as a trigger.

As the video shows, Waze now activates the traffic reporting system as soon as a hand is waved in front of the handset. It’s an ingenious way of handling an issue that shouldn’t exist, with the added benefit of looking super cool when being used.

The hand gesture obviously adds an element of safety, with there being no reason for the driver to need to touch the screen while the vehicle is in motion – a real plus for those who use GPS a lot when out and about.

Let us know if you use Waze and whether you find the implementation working well. The update is live in the App Store now.

[The Verge]

  • Anonymous

    what you’ve not highlighted is that this ‘hands-free’ update is only being trialled in the US and Canada, or thats how i understood the changes before i updated.

  • Awesome. I love Waze

  • Anonymous

    Have read about bad battery drain issues with this app even when not in use. iOS 5 is bad enough. Any egoist or bad comments about this issue?

  • I love Waze, I use it all the time! The human sourcing works great! And it almost feels a little bit like a game, so it’s really fun to update traffic and obstacles!

  • I am an avid Tom Tom user but I decided to try Waze on our recent holiday travels approx 500 miles. I was pleasantly surprised at how polished and well thought out Waze was. I used it the whole trip. The one downside I noticed though was it shot my data way past my limit (first time ever exceeded) so be wary of data usage. I believe it is in part to some of the nonsensical social aspects of Waze – something about collecting points – that I was able to minimize but never fully disable. All in all though I was very pleased with Waze.

  • I did try Waze but not to the extent where I can give decent feedback on it, it was good whilst I did try it though. Disliking the sounds coming from it though in this video!

  • Anonymous

    how do they make money off this app? it’s such a polished app, I’m really left wondering how they managed to put so many hours into a polished app without compensation.

  • Well, the new futures do not work with spanish language, and I think that only work best with English, because it needs Siri.

  • Yes. It does not work with spanish