San Francisco Bay Phandroids: Get Waze Alpha!


wazeDo you live in the San Francisco Bay Area? If so, you might want to jump on the opportunity to get one of 50 Alpha invites to Waze (www.Waze.com) – a pretty cool Android Application concept that is about to launch private alpha. Here is how Daniel Feldman, a member of the Waze team, explained the app:

Waze is aiming to create the first user generated live driving map through the use of Smartphones. Our goal is to empower drivers to create, share and use real-time information (such as Traffic updates or road accidents) straight from their Smartphones. This has been both very popular and efficient in Israel, where we first began. Waze is currently seeking 100 alpha users in the Bay Area who’ll be the first users to participate in building this exciting project.

Lets start out with the cosmetics, I love the name “Waze”. Short, sweet and brandable while conveying exactly what the application is/does.



Based on the top picture, it looks like Waze users are rewarded for reporting accidents, traffic jams and other vehicular time-killers through use of the application. And in the general use of the application, you can see problem areas along your route and confirm/deny their accuracy. A great idea in concept… and it is a concept we’ve heard before.

I can see a few potential problems with this application, but that is exactly why you identify apps as being in Alpha/Beta. I’m hopeful that the application will be helpful right off the bat, but I’d be lying if I said critical mass wasn’t needed for an app like this to earn max value and popularity. Hopefully Phandroid readers can help with that.

So keeping in mind my understanding that the app is in Alpha, here are my concerns:

User Interface
The first screenshot seems pretty busy and if those little icons look itty bitty on a blown up pic, I can only guess the app will be a bit crammed in actuality. Stripped down. Simple. Intuitive. That is what people want – something that works. A lot of time all the bells and whistles only drag things down. The app should allow you to see accidents/traffic and report accidents/traffic… keep it simple.

Reporting Accidents
I really really hope that you don’t have the ability to take a picture of the accident scene as the second picture makes it seem. That will only increase rubberneckers, increase traffic and cause even more traffic. If anything, you should be able to select what type of accident it is with a list of already identified scenarios… bumper to bumper, car fire, overturned car, etc… it WOULD be interesting for people to see pics of the accident and I’m sure they could tie this into their website by providing a stream of live accident coverage. But that is stooping a little low if you ask me. Less informative and more for entertainment. Again, keep it simple.

Reward System
There appears to be a point system of sorts for accurately reporting accidents and other incidents. This is a great idea in theory, but how it is employed will make a big difference. Do users “get” anything beyond a pat on the back? While it is “cool” to have a high score in arcade games, I’m not sure how many people will be addicted to identifying the most accidents. But then again there are some weird people in this world.

What Gets Reported
On the Waze website they identify the following information available through Waze:

  • traffic
  • road construction
  • accidents & incidents
  • police traps & speed cams
  • available parking

All of those are awesome… except for available parking. Unless they are only identifying parking garages as being open or full, I think that is a pretty impossible challenge to conquer. I’ll be interested to hear what “more” includes and I’m sure that will change as the application grows.

Sign up for the Alpha!
The first 50 San Francisco Bay Phandroids who sign up through our link will be automatically enrolled in the Alpha Testing program. For those that sign up, make sure to report back to us with your reviews of the application so we can report to everyone else!

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. This product offers >>>WAY<<< to much supplemental activity for any driver. It’ll result in more accidents than users who are trying to avoid them.

  2. I signed up yesterday, got my email links today. It’s a simple process. One thing I will note, and they are working on it at waze but it might not be fixed yet, when you sign up and give your number (to get a text with the download link) you have to dial a 1 in front of your number. I know, this is a cell phone you shouldn’t have to. I have reported it and they said they’re fixing it.

    A note about your article. This is the Bay Area, and mentioning critical mass is likely to confuse the locals with, well..Critical Mass lol =)

    And yeah, the icons do look cramped on the screen. I think the mood icons are worthless and could be entirely removed, but I guess it’s supposed to be some kind of social thing as well so whatever. I’m just using it as a nice smiley at the top, though I chose “Speedy” for mine so I just get to look at wheels lol

    So far I’ve had some complaints about the UI, about logging in, and my GPS not working (might be my cupcake build, I’m on JF’s latest and I’m not aware of any issues but it hasn’t worked since I updated. I just finally figured out how to turn it on, and it’s still not working so I don’t know really)

    Yeah, I don’t know what else to say. It looks ok for now. Needs some UI tweaks and the map is pretty boring to look at. I haven’t used it for directions yet. If I can get it to locate me a little more accurately I’m going to test that out this weekend.

  3. I hate that your website doesn’t break out my paragraphs by the way. And the comment box is buggy, it doesn’t display your characters when the text wraps… I’m in bug reporting mode I can’t help it!!

  4. I wonder why it hasn’t been done before – actually, I’ve sseen a few apps like this submitted for ADC. The implementation of similar concept seems to be very simple and straightforward however, it seems like this one has iPhone interface photoshopped on top of the Android phone for some reason :) Another thing which wonders me is why to have 100 of testers when you can simply release the app to the Market for free and have thousands of them (and, actually, start creating the network).

  5. @Jonno.N: You should try writing a bloody article. It’s like pulling teeth. I still can’t post youtube videos because it doesn’t feel like letting me.

  6. @Tyler M that’s rough man, even google blogger is better than that I think (from my experience with them at least, though I’m a half-assed blogger at best lol) but yeah, I would be looking for solutions to those issues asap, it’s pretty frustrating. Sorry to junk up your comments though.

    I’m still testing waze, still haven’t been able to login but I’ve been getting great support from the alpha team in NY. I guess they started this thing in Israel and it’s been pretty successful so their testing it all over the US. I live in Oakland so I’m testing for the Bay Area. I haven’t heard of anywhere else that is actually testing but the alpha team said they are and made reference to the fact that he’s in NY.

  7. Hey everybody. Thanks for registering and for the many comments and the feedback so far. Those of you who registered and didn’t receive access yet – you should receive it in a day or two. we are implementing a few critical problems that the very first group of users encountered. Yael

  8. I live in Israel, and use wase for 6 months. it is great app, and the development team try to give it the best they can do….and the result is that the number of users is growing rapidly every month, most of them are very happy:) with it. it is very interesting how it will do in the US. Great app.

  9. please bring this to Europe.. SOON AS POSSIBLE :-)

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