Monday , February 20 2017

Is Google bringing Waze (and other mapping) to Android Auto?


Just as Google IO tickets for the 2017 event are about to go on sale, we are starting to see the possibility of one announcement from last year coming to fruition — Waze on Android Auto.

We have seen OK Google hot-word detection, and the standalone Android Auto ability arrive, but have not seen any of the other big Android Auto additions announced at Google IO 2016. Waze support, Wi-Fi projection (wireless Android Auto), OEM apps. All vapourware at this stage. We have seen lines of code added to the Android Auto app suggesting they are being worked on, but they are yet to see the light of day.

Late last year, the developer of the Waze app tweeted that Android Auto was on the way for Q1 this year. A recent update to the Android Auto app has opened up a selection menu in the maps section of Android Auto. We were alerted to it by one of our readers, Darryn, who emailed us the tip (thank you Darryn, and everyone else we LOVE tips — send them in).

Upon checking it seems that yes the maps shortcut on Android Auto does indeed have an app switcher, just as the media shortcut does:

Obviously Google will be giving users an option here soon (hopefully) and will give the option to choose most likely Waze to use as the mapping app rather than Google Maps. Hopefully we will also see the other IO 2016 announcements arrive in the near future.

Does anyone here use Waze? Convince me why I should, having never used it. Will it be more useful than Google Maps on Android Auto? Do you have Android Auto? Will you be using Waze with it?

 
Thanks: Darryn Kraus.

Scott Plowman   Senior Associate

Scott is our modding guru - he has his finger on the pulse of all things ‘moddable’, pointing us towards all the cutting edge mods hacks that are available. When he’s not gymming it up, or scanning the heck out of Nexus devices, you'll find him on the Ausdroid Podcast.

  • Claudiu Marin

    Yep, I use Waze on a daily basis, especially in town. Be advised, rush hour is rush hour and there isn’t much Waze can do except try to re-route you if the detour time is assumed shorter than the time over the main route.
    It works great on roads with a high traffic density, not so much in remote places.
    The strong point is the almost “real-time” notification system – combined with the chatting/social options, it gives you a very dynamic image of the road ahead.
    And I think in this resides the main problem(s)
    – Paiyng too much (visual) attention to the map while driving
    – adding notifications and comments to the map via the touch-screen – again, you would have to take your eyes off the road ahead;
    – notifying about police presence – in some countries this might be illegal

    So I think their main concerns are:
    – how much to allow the AA Waze adaptation to do and display (compared to the “regular” app)
    – integrate as much audio control over the app

    And yes, I like Waze better.
    I’ve been looking forward for waze since they announced it last summer…
    I currently drive a Passat B8 (eurospec) – AA compatible from the start and I use Google maps for AA alternately with the (offline) maps from the headunit (formerly Here Maps from Nokia/Microsoft)

    • God126

      I use Android auto and Waze and I’m impressed with Android auto. Very accurate and timely turn directions but Waze is much more useful for other info while driving.

      Google also need to add taking meetings on WebEx into the equation.

      I do a ton of meetings while driving around the bay area in its godawful traffic and this would help me a ton.

      It would also enhance safety for everyone.

      Disappointed it’s taken over a year for Waze integration to happen.

  • Max Luong

    The main reason I haven’t been using Android Auto is the lack of Waze. It’s great for the speed camera notifications or to tell you if you’re speeding as you’re approaching a fixed camera.

    The routing isn’t as good as Maps, and it positively atrocious on long journeys for some reason. If I need navigation, I’ll use Maps, but still have Waze running in the background for alerts.

  • Martin

    Waze is my go to app most days. Really delivers on what it promises. When I head into city I revert to Gmaps for lane assist. This has always been the downfall for Waze. No lane assist. The second occasion I would choose another app is when I meet someone. Waze arrival notification not as user friendly as Glimpse on Here maps. Always bombs out if the one you meet is not on Waze.

  • Travis Coble

    Waze vs. Maps: I use the beta versions for both, and I am a level four local guide in Maps. In truth, Maps recieves a large portion of its data directly from Waze, and Waze gets its information from users and municipalities. Regarding accuracy, Waze is only as good as it’s submissions, and it can be extremely haphazard – for instance, a road on my commute is usually flooded during rain and closed, but will almost never reflect as such due to inconsiderate locals not reporting it (sooo irritating). And while Maps is fed by Waze, it only accepts the information after multiple validations by other drivers, so you only get good information and not the added 75% of phantom incidents. Additionally I’ve found that time estimates tend to always be off in Waze by five to ten minutes (Waze is way too optimistic), while Maps is dead on. However, the number one feature that Waze has that makes it indespensible? Police reporting for speed traps or check points. So my rule of thumb is to use both, but dependant on circumstances: if you need to be somewhere you’ve never been, use Maps; if you know where you’re going or are just cruising around, you can’t beat Waze simply running in the background for the sake of info.

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