Google Maps vs. Waze (2021)

Google Maps vs Waze
Google Maps vs. Waze

The same company may operate both; Google Maps and Waze are a lot different. How do both differ, and which one would win in a navigation battle? The article covers Google Maps vs. Waze.

Navigation

Google Maps vs. Waze | Navigation

First and foremost, let’s see how both perform on the road. I went for a 7-minute trip to see how both work. Both showed the exact arrival time, but Waze displayed one minute extra travel time. Anyway, here are some of the features that we find helpful in both.

Google Maps

  • The app shows the walking path to get to the location.
  • It shows a little compass icon to help you figure out the headed direction.
  • The app shows fuel stations and other nearby places as you travel.
  • You can see other routes with their ETA.

Waze

  • A little music button lets you quickly play music (supports limited music apps).
  • The app displays your vehicle’s speed.

Winner: Tie

Also read: Sygic vs. Google Maps

Navigation data collection

How Maps Work Illustration
How Maps Work Illustration

So, how is navigation data collected and displayed? Both work similarly by checking the historical data from point A to B and collecting data from users using their apps. Based on the historical and real-time data, traffic conditions and ETA are generated.

With the above being covered, I feel like Google Maps is more accurate, and the reason for this could be the number of people using it. Google Maps is the most downloaded maps app in the US, which means more users are using the service.

Winner: Tie

Reporting

Reporting Tools in Google Maps and Waze
Reporting Tools in Google Maps and Waze

With Google Maps adopting reporting features, we get to see this option on both services now. But, still, no other maps service has been able to overcome Waze. Waze comes with over 10 reporting options.

On the other hand, Google Maps comes with a handful of options, and most are region-dependent, so you might not have some from the list below.

FeatureWazeGoogle Maps
Mobile speed camera✔️✔️
Static speed camera✔️
Speed limit✔️✔️ limited locations 👇
Vehicle’s speed✔️
Crash✔️✔️
Congestion✔️✔️
Roadworks✔️✔️
Road closure✔️✔️
Object on road✔️✔️
Disabled vehicle✔️✔️
Fuel prices✔️
Roadside help✔️
Google Maps and Waze reporting tools

Google Maps has started displaying the speed limit, but it is still under development and not available everywhere.

A note on Waze: It sometimes forgets to report the speed camera. The area is marked in the app, but it does not inform about it even when the audio is not muted.

Winner: Waze

Transit options

In the next section of Google Maps vs. Waze, we are covering the supported transport options. Google Maps is an all-rounder app offering driving, public transport, taxi, walk, and cycling routes. The service has partnered with local transit agencies to display buses live on the maps.

Waze contrarily supports cars, taxis, and motorcycles. There isn’t much difference between the car and taxi, but it can help in rare situations.

Winner: Google Maps

Related: Google Maps vs. TomTom Go

Downloading maps

Another feature for Google Maps users is downloading maps on their phones. Users can download different areas such as their home area and navigate offline. Of course, the feature does not update the traffic condition, but it’s good enough to get home when your phone is not connected to the internet.

A 50-kilometre radius consumes about 70MB of storage, and the offline maps expire after a year of downloading or updating.

Waze, in comparison, does not offer to download maps, but one trick to use Waze offline is to start the navigation when connected to the internet. Waze does not stop while navigating, but you won’t get any reports or nearby traffic data.

Winner: Google Maps

Contributions

Contributions on Google Maps and Waze
Contributions on Google Maps and Waze

Both offer a contribution feature to help drivers stay up to date. Google Maps has integrated a separate section for people to contribute. One can contribute by:

  1. rating places
  2. posting reviews
  3. posting photos
  4. checking facts
  5. adding places
  6. suggesting edits
  7. posting videos
  8. answering simple questions

Each type has specific points assigned, and there is no limit on any of the above. The points you collect are added to your profile, and as you get points, your Local Guide Level increases.

With Waze, users can report the situations mentioned in the reporting section, and like Google Maps, they get points for reporting. Waze uses a level system to rank its users, while people with high levels have more reputation in the app’s directory. In other words, reports from higher-level users go live quicker than those new to Waze (personal experience).

Winner: Tie

Other features

Similar

  • Support voice search
  • Available for Android Auto and CarPlay
  • Change vehicle’s icon
  • Auto activate the night mode

Google Maps

  • See information, including photos, videos, ratings, reviews for millions of businesses
  • See real-time street view while walking
  • Explore the street view of millions of streets
  • Uses GPS time zone rather than phone’s time
  • Uses sensors (not time) to activate the night mode (going into a tunnel activates the night mode)

Waze

  • Schedule a ride
  • See other Wazers (users using Waze) nearby

People also like: Waze vs. TomTom Go

Which one should you choose

In most cases, I prefer Google Maps because of its accurate traffic measure, public transport, and offline downloading. Still, those who travel regularly should consider Waze because of reports, vehicle speed, and speed camera warnings. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.

For taxi and rideshare drivers, I recommend Waze, while ordinary people using apps to get by should consider Google Maps.

Google Maps vs. Waze: Links

Wrapping things up

It’s good to explore all the options before making an app your daily drive. The article Google Maps vs. Waze compared the essential options to help you choose the best app for your particular job. I hope it helped you in making that decision.

Please share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments box below to help others pick the right service.

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