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Waze vs Google Maps: What’s the Best Traffic App?

Last updated: May 29, 2021
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waze vs google maps

If you’re up-to-date on the latest tech hacks for everyday errands and tasks, then there’s a good chance you’re having a Waze vs Google Maps debate. The map apps are both great in their own ways, but if you had to use either Google Maps or Waze, which one is best? We’re going to dive into the Waze vs Google Maps competition and help you decide which driving aide is best for you.

When it comes to the Google Maps vs Waze debate, let’s take a look at each app separately and outline some of the notable features, pros, and cons. This way, you can get an overview of what each app’s strengths are. Plus, you may learn something new about one or both of them!


Is Waze Better Than Google Maps?

Did you know Google actually bought Waze (an Israeli startup) back in 2013? Of course they did. But even though these brands are owned by the same company, Google decided to keep the two apps separate. That decision alone is a very telling detail about how the apps are different. With that being said, there are still die-hard fans of each app, making the argument for either one tough to win. Some people might say Waze is better than Google Maps, and others may prefer Google Maps over Waze, but why? What makes each of them so great? Well, let’s take a look at exactly that.

Waze: Primarily used to avoid traffic and see a more in-depth look at what’s happening along your route, Waze compiles comments from various users that decide to share their navigational feedback. A common comment might be something like “Big crash – take another road if you can,’ which then tacks onto your map, which means you can see what’s going on ahead of you, thanks to the thoughtful driver at the scene. It’s also not uncommon for courteous Waze users to warn of speed traps and the like. The interface is clean and very navigationally focused.

Google Maps: While you might think maps are navigationally focused, you must remember that maps also include things like places of interest, banks, spiderwebs of highways, and a lot of other distracting details. So, this is everything you get with Google Maps. Google Maps will give you a fast route to your destination, but it also provides information on nearby restaurants and gas stations. It does not have the user-interaction component that Waze does, though.


Waze vs Google Maps—Which Map App Should I Use?

So now that you know the basics of each map app, we return to our original quandary: Should I use Waze or Google Maps? To be honest, it’s a matter of personal opinion and what you might value more.

The Case for Waze

Do you always wonder how you can skip out on your crowded morning commute? Are you secretly searching for cops as you cruise by an overhang? If either of those things made your eyes widen with excitement, then you’ll probably really enjoy Waze. This app has your biggest concerns at the center of its operation, and the app itself works very well. The clean design doesn’t distract you from the road, and it is simple to understand when you first give it a try. All your fellow drivers’ warnings and comments pop up in real-time, which is crucial since you’re on the go.

Plus, it’s fun. Waze allows for a seamless Spotify integration, which might be an attractive feature for those who treat their car like a concert venue. Another fun feature is the navigation choice options—if you don’t want a robo-lady telling you where to go, you can change the voice to a British boy band or other voices.

Here are some other hard details about Waze:

  • Only for driving (not walking, cycling, etc.)
  • Integrates with social networks
  • Able to update friends with ETA via live traffic reporting
  • Learns your commuting hours, frequent destinations, and preferred routes
  • Easy to search for cheap gas on your route
  • Traffic jam indicator counts down your jam time

So, if you’re looking to shave off your driving time, Waze might be the best bet.

The Case for Google Maps

You may pull out Google Maps in a new city or familiar area, right after using it the whole road trip there. Yes, you could use this app all the time. Google Maps is pretty comprehensive, not focusing only on driving like Waze does. With one search like “coffee shops,” Google Maps will pull up all kinds of cafes close to your current location. Similarly, you can search for millions of other businesses relative to your location on Google Maps, and the app also has options for walking and biking routes in addition to driving routes and public transportation navigation.

Google Maps also gives you voice navigation types, though your options are a little less fun than a British boy band. The perk of using a Google product, though, is the integration of other similar Google services. For example: Google Maps includes robust business listing info (like closing times) as well as a Google Street View of the selected business.

Everything else to know about Google Maps:

  • Includes live traffic reporting and rerouting, but not as thorough as Waze
  • The ability to choose offline mode while navigating
  • Shows you which lane you should drive in
  • Alerts you if you’ll arrive too late to a location based on business hours

If you want more of an all-in-one solution for navigating to new places, Google Maps could be your preferred map app.


So, there you have it. Depending on what you’re looking for in a navigation tool, Waze and Google Maps offers two similar but very different experiences. If you’ve experienced with either one, let us know which app you prefer!

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