Google Maps Versus Waze: Comparing Google Maps and Waze is a tricky business. Both navigation apps share many similarities, from their common features to their common parent firm, Google. It’s as though time is making the two more and more similar to one another.
While they both help you get around, Google Maps and Waze take very different approaches to the task of mapping. To help you go from point A to point B, Google Maps relies on information gathered over many years. Waze, on the other hand, uses crowdsourcing to get you where you need to go in a novel and aggressive way.
Nonetheless, the distinctions between the two are hazy at best. It’s not simple to choose the ideal option; your decision should be guided by your own requirements and preferences. But which program would win if Google Maps and Waze were pitted against each other in a one-on-one fight to the finish?
Availability of Google Maps vs. Waze
Since Google is notorious for always wanting a piece of the action, both Google Maps and Waze can be found on most smartphones. Both apps can be downloaded for free on iOS and Android devices, and they work with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Consequently, you can use either a car or a device, and it doesn’t matter which you prefer.
There is even a desktop browser version, albeit it lacks the ability to navigate in real-time. You can still use your account to access saved searches, locations, and instructions on your phone at a later time.
Both Google Maps and Waze are effective navigational tools. The two services are distinct despite sharing the Google name. That your mode of transportation will determine who comes out on top.
The standard navigation app is Google Maps. As long as you enter the destination, it will figure out how to get you there. Google Maps will help you get where you need to go, whether you like to walk, drive, ride a bike, or take the bus. If there are any roadblocks or traffic jams in your way, Google Maps will let you know so you can choose an alternate route.
However, Waze was designed with motorists and motorcyclists in mind alone. Waze is constantly assessing conditions to identify the shortest route to your location, rather than just choosing the quickest single path and leaving you to it.
Although both may gauge traffic conditions based on user activity, only Waze takes action to improve them. Waze, like Google Maps, will display any impediments or traffic it detects on the screen, but unlike Waze, Google will continue to send you on your original route even if it becomes significantly longer or shorter than you expected. Depending on how severe the traffic is, it may suggest an alternative route and ask whether you want to take it.
However, Google Maps’ route calculation logic was updated last year. Now, the service will take into account a variety of criteria, such as current traffic conditions and the number of lights along the route, in order to provide a safer and more environmentally friendly route. That way, you can reduce your carbon footprint and save money at the pump.
That is to say, Google Maps will factor in more than just your expected arrival time when giving directions. Recently, it has also begun detailing the toll costs associated with a given route. That’s a feature we might add it stole from Waze.
Waze’s sole purpose is to reduce the amount of time you spend in transit and maximize your arrival time. So does not require confirmation before suggesting alternative routes to bypass newly-appeared roadblocks. Attempting to minimize the time it takes to reach a specific destination. Because of this, Waze users frequently report being directed to unexpected locations while the program attempts to fulfill their destination requests.
This is most clearly demonstrated by the time I needed to find driving instructions to my folks’ homes. A 213-mile journey would take 3 hours and 19 minutes, according to Waze. While Google Maps suggested a quicker path, it would still take 3 hours and 32 minutes to travel the 211 miles. That means staying on the same path and not dodging toll roads.
Additionally, Waze estimated that it would take 1 hour and 12 minutes to drive the 45 miles to our London office. The 46-mile trip took two minutes longer thanks to Google Maps.
Unfortunately, Waze can only work if its users are also out and about on the roads. Waze can’t tell you what’s going on in the distance if there aren’t any other users around for miles.
Thankfully, you can save maps offline on both services, but Google Maps is more transparent about it. With Google Maps’ Offline maps feature, you may choose a region and have all the data for it downloaded while you’re offline. There used to be an option to save certain routes, however, it appears that feature has been removed.
Waze lacks both of these features, but saving a route to your favorites will store the necessary data so that you may use it even when you don’t have an internet connection. However, because Waze uses real-time information, you won’t be able to see what’s occurring on the roads if your mobile coverage goes down. Essentially, you nullify Waze’s main selling point.
It’s true that the two services are essentially interchangeable for drivers, but Waze’s ability to avoid traffic jams in a novel way makes it the superior option. So long as you don’t mind taking unusual detours, Waze is the best navigation tool out there.
Waze was the winner.
Transportation Options Using Google Maps and Waze
Choosing this path is simple. Waze doesn’t help you at all if you’re taking public transportation or some other non-traditional mode of transportation. Nothing at all.
Waze’s purpose is to reroute drivers whenever it detects a quicker route around obstructions; however, since you are not the driver, you cannot rely on this feature while riding public transportation. Therefore, you should consult Google Maps.
Google Maps may be used with several modes of public transit, as well as on foot and by bike. If you try to utilize Waze, it will take you down the quickest path possible for a car, which isn’t always the safest option.
On the other hand, public transportation details are abundant in Google Maps. To begin, it has complete schedules and maps for transit systems around the world and can confidently include these in its directions. There are also real-time updates on potential delays and other disruptions to your route, so you may prepare accordingly.
Using a combination of past data and the number of people it can see there at any given time, Google Maps can forecast how busy a specific service or region is going to be. Even local bike and e-scooter rentals (where available) are incorporated into the system.
Although Waze isn’t capable of competing with every mode of transportation out there, it may improve in this area. Particularly in locations where such rental options are readily available.
Google Maps takes first place.
Comparison of Google Maps vs Waze’s User Experience
Google Maps and Waze both come from the same business and provide comparable functions, but they have very distinct designs. Waze is far less complex than Google Maps, which has the appearance of more conventional software due to the abundance of on-screen information it gives.
This distinction results from the fact that the two apps serve very different purposes. Waze’s sole purpose is to help drivers get from point A to point B while minimizing exposure to traffic and other risks on the road. Whether it’s for getting around, finding cool new places to check out, or talking with local businesses, Google Maps is a must-have.
When it comes down to basic navigation, however, the two apps appear to be interchangeable. The apps filter out the fluff and present only the essential information. That’s your icon, your destination, and some other data like speed limits and potential road dangers.
Waze wins this round because it doesn’t waste your time with unnecessary information and gets right to the point. Everything is neat and tidy whether you’re actively receiving directions or just glancing at the map. The extra data on Google Maps can be helpful at times, but it can also be distracting. And to be really honest, it can look like a shambles at times, especially in a metropolitan area.
Waze was the winner.
Ads for Google Maps and Waze
While both Google Maps and Waze have advertisements, the two apps take different approaches to deciding which premium features to display.
Ads on Google Maps are typically hard to spot, although the service has lately undergone improvements to improve this. A notable illustration of this is the shift from circular to square icons for sponsored businesses and locations. I think you’ll agree that it’s rather subtle.
Waze, on the other hand, is quite obtrusive and can display annoying banner adverts whenever you stop moving.
You won’t have to constantly dismiss the adverts because they vanish as soon as you start moving again. However, they are still quite sizable and obvious, particularly if your phone has a somewhat modest display. Waze might need some moderation, as the least it could do if it must display advertisements is to make them less obtrusive.
Google Maps takes first place.
Comparison between Google Maps and Waze
Both Waze and Google Maps rely extensively on data, but Waze is even more so. For the simple reason that user contributions are the foundation of what Waze does. Much of it is gathered mechanically just because you are moving about with the app active. Users can also report dangers and roadblocks that could cause delays for other motorists.
All that data can be analyzed to get a picture of what’s happening on the roadways, and then used to guide or reroute drivers as needed. It’s also useful for Waze’s algorithmic development of the service and its maps.
If you want to see what the roads look like, Google Maps can do that, too, but its system is built on top of a far larger data set. It can predict what the weather will be like at any hour of the day based on past data, and it can also incorporate real-time data from sources like traffic sensors and Google Maps users. There are parallels between the two systems, but Google Maps has access to far more data than Waze does and can thus make better use of it.
You can safely ignore Google Maps if you accidentally find yourself in a region where there aren’t many people using the service. Using contextual information, the app will be able to keep you reasonably up to date on what’s happening.
Obviously, Google Maps and Waze make quite different uses of their information. Even though Google owns and operates both Waze and Google Maps, the former’s ability to reroute your route based on real-time information is still absent from the latter.
If you pay attention to what Google Maps displays on the screen, you can keep track of impending road conditions, but ultimately it is your responsibility to choose different routes if they become available. Unlike Waze, Google Maps won’t reroute you without your input. But about it, more shortly.
However, there are many benefits to using years of data. Google Maps can tell you how many people are on the road at any given time of day and where individuals tend to drive faster than they should.
Unless something unexpected happens after you’ve already started out, Google Maps will always have a decent sense of the best route to follow and how long it will take to arrive at your destination. Waze has several advantages, however, it is hampered by a lack of historical and traffic sensor data.
Google Maps takes first place.
Differences Between Google Maps and Waze, Found
Waze may be best known as a navigation program, but it also has discovery tools that are competitive with those in Google Maps.
Both applications share a lot of comparable features that make it easy to locate useful establishments and landmarks in your immediate vicinity. Using the integrated search function and quick-access buttons, you can skip over many of the necessary preliminaries and be presented with the facts in an instant. You can rapidly locate and get to your desired destination, be it a petrol station or grocery store.
As is so often the case, though, Google Maps is focused on providing extras. Extra specialized buttons have been added. So whether you’re looking for an electronics store or a sporting goods shop, Google Maps’ collection of discovery buttons has you covered. While Google Maps complicates things, Waze simplifies everything.
Considering the ubiquitousness of the search bar, it could be reasonable to argue that a minimal interface is preferable when trying to locate specific content. The location cards in Waze, however, are lacking in comparison to those in Google Maps.
My local Chinese restaurant is a wonderful illustration of this. The location, business hours, phone number, user reviews, user-submitted images of the meal, and even symbols indicating what services are now available are all available to me via Google Maps.
Waze was helpful in finding the closest parking lot, although it just provided the essentials (address, phone number, and website). Some of the local mom-and-pop shops I frequented also experienced the same problems, but the major chains had a lot more publicity.
While the McDonald’s near me listed its hours of operation and the services available at the restaurant (currently solely drive-thru), it did not provide any other means of contact. It seems like the barest minimum to ask for inclusion. Five miles up the road at the TGI Fridays, everything was the same.
Both programs allow you to look for EV chargers, but the newest Google upgrade should make it much simpler to discover a DC quick charger that works with your car while you’re on the road.
It’s true that Google Maps isn’t perfect, but despite its limitations, it still provides a lot of useful information. Unlike the other takeaway joints in the area, the one closest to me doesn’t even have a website that provides directions to their location. Despite this, Google Maps still has a wealth of data, such as the business’s hours of operation, phone number, and peak traffic times.
While additional details are spotty on Waze, Google Maps contains virtually everything you could want because of its ability to aggregate information from a variety of sources.
Whether or not Waze will receive the same upgrades to its finding options as Google Maps, which were revealed in May, is still unclear. Google Maps’ suggestions will be much more tailored to your current location and time of day. As a result, we will have to hold our breath and watch what happens.
Google Maps takes first place.
What to do about traffic and potential dangers on Google Maps vs. Waze
When it came to traffic and road dangers, Waze used to be the only game in town, but lately, Google Maps has been making up ground. At the moment, there is no discernible difference between the two systems.
Waze takes proactive measures to avoid the roadblocks that its users have reported. So much so that you can find yourself taking unfamiliar, circuitous routes in an effort to save a minute or two of your travel time. A lot of respect for the effort put in there. It’s OK that Google Maps hasn’t yet made such a dramatic leap.
Both Google Maps and Waze allow you to report dangers as you encounter them, but the two don’t always coincide. There are numerous speed cameras along the highway that I take in London. Each mile of the road must be equipped with at least one camera to strictly enforce the 50 mph speed limit. Waze provides me with a visual alert whenever I approach one of these cameras, despite the fact that most of them only have a textual description.
But Google Maps fails miserably at both of these tasks. The 45-mile route from my place to London showed a grand total of two cameras, despite Google Maps’ ability to report speed cameras and other major traffic dangers. Although it does not appear like Waze has them all, it does have a vastly greater number than Google Maps. Waze relies on input from the public, yet you might assume that Google’s data collection machine would be more reliable.
It’s true that Google Maps isn’t far behind, but Waze’s user base is more active, giving it the upper hand.
Waze was the winner.
The hands-free functions of Google Maps and Waze are identical. You can either use the “Hey Google” feature of Google Assistant or press the on-screen microphone every time you wish to issue a command.
If you’re using an Android device, all you need to do is access Google Assistant. Some more work is required for iPhone users. If you don’t indicate which app to use, Siri will use Apple Maps unless you tell it otherwise. You should specify that you want “directions home with Waze,” rather than just “directions home,” or else the device may not understand your request.
You may disable the “Hey Siri” command in Google Maps while the program is running by going to the Navigation section of the settings menu. As a result, you can mimic the “Ok Google” query from Android.
It appears that the command differences between the two apps are minimal, and both can be used to have an assistant guide you to new areas, make changes to your current route, provide information about what lies ahead and the current state of traffic, and so on. If you come across any traffic jams, road hazards, or other problems on your travels, you may easily report them with a few simple voice commands. Similarly, if you have the Google Assistant app on your iOS device, you may access the same functions.
So, regardless of whatever path you choose or which tool you employ, you should have essentially the same experience.
Differentiation between Google Maps and Waze
The speech area of Waze is especially rich with personalization choices. Waze provides multiple speech options, especially if you speak English, while Google usually just has one per country or region.
Occasionally, the app will include the voices of celebrities for a limited time as part of a promotion, but they are not a permanent part of the program. Such as when Microsoft and Waze included Master Chief from Halo in the voice navigation system (opens in new tab). Additionally, Waze allows you to record your own voice to use instead of a random robot’s if you refuse to follow directions from one.
When using Waze as a navigational tool, you can select from ten different vehicle icons, such as a Formula One race car, a motorbike, or the plain old arrow. Additionally, you have the option to alter your “mood,” thereby allowing you to personalize the avatar other users would see on their own maps. If you log enough miles or add enough data to Waze, you’ll be rewarded with a golden crown mood.
Google Maps allows you to alter your on-screen symbol to one of three cars if you choose, and you may modify the voice to a different language or location. That, however, is the extent of its personalization features. However, you can choose to have a helpful British robot direct your route if that sounds appealing.
While both applications offer some degree of customization, Waze is the best option if you want to put your own stamp on your navigation experience. Similarly, if you’re tired of the monotonous default voice, Waze is your best bet.
|Row 0 – Cell 0||Google Maps||Waze|
|Interface and Design||Row 2 – Cell 1||x|
|Navigation (Driving)||Row 3 – Cell 1||x|
|Public and Alternate Transportation||x||Row 4 – Cell 2|
|Advertising||x||Row 5 – Cell 2|
|Data||x||Row 6 – Cell 2|
|Discovery||x||Row 7 – Cell 2|
|Traffic and hazards||Row 8 – Cell 1||x|
|Customization||Row 10 – Cell 1||x|
Finally, the Bottom Line
One cannot disagree that Google Maps is the superior navigation service. It’s not only more comprehensive than Waze, but it also has a lot more tools at its disposal. Moreover, Google Maps provides resources to assist you in navigating using whichever mode of transportation you choose.
When compared to Google Maps, Waze’s capabilities are extremely limited. Incredibly, despite being a part of the Google family for so long, it is able to provide a service that Google Maps is unable to. Why? No one can say for sure why Google would want to keep both services going and not include Waze’s most popular feature in its own Maps app. And yet, that is the reality of the situation.
You should use Waze if you’re the type of driver that just wants to reach where you’re going as soon as possible, regardless of the route you take. Google Maps can detect and predict road conditions, but it isn’t as proactive as asking you to take an alternative route when things get dangerous.
Waze is great if you’re in a car or on a motorcycle, but it’s absolutely pointless otherwise. Its limited utility is easily filled by Google Maps. Accordingly, Google Maps is not just the victor, but also your sole real choice, in many situations.