What is Waze, and How Can it Affect My Local Business?Recently acquired by Google, Waze is one of the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation apps, available in the Google Play and Apple App store. Motorists all around the world use Waze to share real-time traffic and road information, in order to save each other time and fuel.

After typing in their destination address, users just drive with the app open on their phone to passively contribute traffic and other road data. Waze provides turn-by-turn voice navigation along with real-time traffic alerts and other location-specific information, while simultaneously sending the user’s speed and location back to its database for use in calculating drive times. Users can also report accidents, speed traps, or any other hazards along the way, as well as fuel prices when they stop for gas.

Waze is Going Places

Waze recently launched its new “Places” feature, which allows users to report on their destinations when they arrive. Whether it’s a business, public attraction, landmark, or just a good spot for a picnic lunch, they can snap a photo and fill in information about the place. Users can also check in on Foursquare and Facebook, and share the location on Twitter without having to close the app. Another new feature lets you place a pin on the map before you leave your car, to help you find your way back to where you parked.

How Can I Add or Edit My Local Business on Waze?

Once you download the app and open it on your smartphone, select the Report menu by tapping the small blue icon on the bottom right that looks like a Google map pin. Select the Place icon, then take a picture of your storefront. Tap the corresponding double arrow to get to the next step, which is to search for your business and edit your info. Finally, add your street number and locate the map pin in the correct spot.

Wazers earn credits by adding places as they go about their daily lives, which builds credibility and allows them to report on more features. Because the app uses the phone’s GPS, users cannot add places unless they are physically there, so don’t try to add your business from home.

What’s the Difference Between Waze and Google Maps?

Although Google Maps has long been the top choice for mobile navigation, Waze is poised to give them some pretty stiff competition, which may be why Google purchased the app from its Israel-based creators in 2013. Some believe Google acquired Waze simply to keep it out of the hands of Facebook and Apple. In fact, Google Maps now integrates traffic data from Waze into its final product, to help reroute users around big traffic jams.

Waze is more socially driven, however, and even shows other Wazers’ locations on the map display. Waze’s social media interface allows users to connect their Facebook and Foursquare accounts and link up with friends. So while Google Maps is still the first choice for navigation, Waze is likely to become a huge hit with the social media crowd – a win-win situation for Google. Either way, savvy local business owners would do well to make sure their location information is up to date on both applications on top of other important listings.