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November 29, 2017

Navigation app gets the Google treatment with ‘OK Waze’ voice controls

by John_A

Waze can already be credited with a number of firsts in GPS navigation, and now the company is set to unveil a number of features that will likely put it even further ahead of other navigation apps.

The new features should help make the app a little more useful for different types of drivers. For example, users will now be able to switch to “motorcycle mode” by heading to the settings, hitting “vehicle type,” and selecting “motorcycle.” In motorcycle mode, Waze will calculate arrival times differently, and will create optimal motorcycle routes that have been recommended by other motorcyclists. Motorcycle mode is available in the Waze app worldwide.

Motorcycle mode isn’t the only new feature — Waze will also now include carpool lanes in its navigation, allowing for better estimated time of arrival (ETA) calculations and slightly different routes for those who can use carpool lanes. This feature is available in 22 markets in the U.S., plus Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal in Canada. To activate navigation with carpool lanes, you’ll need to head to settings, then tap navigation, then “Add Toll/HOV pass” to add the passes that you can use.

The third and final new feature adds some of Google’s voice recognition. Users will now be able to say “OK Waze” to activate voice input, then command the system to navigate to places, report traffic jams, and so on — all without the user needing to touch the phone’s screen or divert their attention from the road.

According to Waze, the three features were some of the most requested additions to the Waze app. Waze in general has added a solid number of new features this year. Perhaps most notable is the company’s added support for Android Auto, which allows users with in-car infotainment systems to make use of the app. Waze also partnered with Spotify for the iOS version of the app to give drivers a little more control of their music from within the Waze app — cutting down on the number of presses drivers need to make while driving.

You can get Waze for Android here or for iOS here.

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