People may be driving far less often thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that doesn’t mean driving activity has halted completely. As such, there’s always room for improvements to navigation apps like Apple Maps, Google Maps, and Waze. At a Waze On event on Tuesday, the Google-owned navigation company detailed a number of new features, including the addition of lane guidance, which we first heard was in testing back in April.
Lane Guidance is one of the most requested features from users, and it’s finally rolling out to some users on Android. The feature will provide drivers with advance notice about what lane they need to be in if they need to exit or merge onto a different freeway.
It’s not crucial to the navigation experience, but it’s incredibly helpful, especially if you’re not familiar with the area you’re driving in. A similar feature is already available in Google Maps and Apple Maps.
Lane Guidance isn’t the only exciting feature coming to the service. Waze also announced trip suggestions, which will show users recommendations based on previous trips they’ve taken. Now, when you launch the app, you’ll see a list of places you might want to visit again, along with an ETA for how long the trip will take. The feature should arrive sometime next month.
Waze is also gearing up to launch traffic notifications next month. This feature will alert users when traffic begins to get bad on their favorite or frequent destinations. So, if you frequently travel to mom’s house the next town over, you’ll proactively get traffic notifications to tell you the drive might be a little longer than usual (which might be a good excuse not to visit).
Additionally, Waze said it’s making improvements to ETA calculations in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. With fewer cars on the road, estimating arrival times has been a little more difficult. The update, however, should take into account the reduction in traffic when making calculations in some areas.
Finally, Waze is making a few changes to its built-in carpool service with real-time rides and instant book, the latter of which will allow users to automatically accept ride requests without manually having to do it.
The new features arrive following Waze’s announcement that it would be cutting 5% of its workforce and shutting down several offices around the globe. With the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing in many parts of the world, fewer people are driving, meaning fewer people are using Waze. Perhaps these new features will encourage more people to stick around rather than jumping ship to another navigation app.
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