Let’s break it down.
WHAT ARE THEY?
Google’s apt-titled offering is more of a standard navigation app, albeit one that provides navigation for those walking, biking, or using public transit, in addition to driving. The maps also show the location of various businesses and points of interest, making it useful for getting an overview of a region or part of town, seeing what else is near your destination, and other traditional static map functions.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES?
- Live traffic reporting provided by users
- A plethora of voice navigation options, including celebrity voices and the ability to record commands in your own voice
- Monitors your current speed and lets you know when you are going too fast
- Remembers commonly used routes, frequent destinations, and commute times
- One-button access to a map of parking lots near your destination
- Aggressive rerouting saves time
- Motorcycle mode
- Traffic jam time countdown
- Police notifications
- Spotify integration
- Advertisement supported
- Offers directions for driving, biking, walking, and using public transportation
- Voice navigation choices for driving, biking, and walking
- Transportation network (“ride-sharing”) company integration
- Google Street View integration
- Turn-by-turn directions still offered during offline mode
- Google Assistant integration
- Built-in Google search provides information on businesses
- EV charging station locator
- Lane designation lets drivers know which lane they should be in before turns
- Add another stop on your way to the final destination
- Drivers can find their parked cars easily since the app saves parking locations
- Navigation backlit change based on day/nighttime
- Real-time location sharing
- Spotify integration
- Offline functionality
WHICH APP WILL GET YOU THERE FASTER?
The answer to this question, unfortunately, isn’t that simple.
For city driving, Waze excels at finding alternate routes around accidents and traffic jams, especially since it alerts drivers way in advance if an incident is near. Waze’s police reporting is also quite advantageous, as it helps drivers monitor their speed and avoid getting a ticket. To save time, however, Waze also tends to shuttle drivers through residential neighbourhoods, which is often a roundabout way of getting to your destination. This could be ideal for long drives but is somewhat annoying — it’s also not really that significant of a timesaver for shorter trips.
Google Maps, on the other hand, will still get you to your destination in a timely fashion and alerts drivers about accidents and traffics jams. The alerts aren’t as informative as Waze, though, mainly because Google Maps doesn’t have social integration. Google Maps does have a larger and more informative map view, however, which allows drivers to see routes more clearly.
SO, WHICH APP IS BETTER?
Like the last question, the answer isn’t that cut and dry. If it’s just about driving, Waze’s clean maps, live traffic reports, and parking notifications give it an advantage. But for all-around features, Google Maps takes the cake. Last year, it incorporated incident reporting and voice-control functionality via Google Assistant, and will soon add a host of augmented-reality features. The For You tab also provides information about local restaurants and events, as well as nearby charging stations, if you happen to own an electric vehicle. The ability to pull up biking and walking directions — as well as those for using public transit — also gives it a notable edge over Waze, even if they can clutter the display at times.