waze, meet ifttt and take social navigation to the next level
I drove back home to Maine last weekend and I gave waze a try, a community-based traffic and navigation app. The UI struck me as a bit busy at first but as I got the hang of it, I realized that the features are incredibly powerful. Not only does it act as a GPS with voice commands but it allows you to report police sightings, traffic jams, accidents, and the like. As you drive, you can see other “wazers” on the road and their reports. One fellow wazer actually chatted to me: “sup teddy.” I didn’t really quite know what to say, especially since I was driving. You can pick up “road munchies” along the way, which I guess gives you points to move up on the waze scoreboard. I don’t really see any utility in the gamification aspect and it could probably be axed without really upsetting anyone.
There is so much potential for waze to be more social. Recently, we saw hashtagmom launch on the foursquare API, which sends an SMS to your mom when you add #mom to your foursquare check-in (think landing at an airport or any other travel event where mom would want to know that you’re safe). It is a cute novelty app but its basic premise is relevant to the social features that I’d like to see in waze.
ifttt, or if this then that, is a startup that lets you create and define tasks. For example, if a photo is uploaded to your Facebook, have ifttt automatically send it to your Dropbox. The beauty of ifttt is the DIY-feel to it, since the options for automation are really up to your creativity.
Here are a few ideas that I had:
- Friend Updates: If you pass through a certain location where a Facebook friend or address book contact lives, you can set an ifttt through waze to shoot them an sms or tweet to them know you’re in town. I always feel bad when I check in to a new city without telling a friend that I’ll be in town even if I don’t have time to meet with them.
- Mileage Summaries: Automatically send trip summaries to your e-mail that include mileage, route, and average speed.
- Lost?: Get an SMS listing phone numbers of your friends who live or have lived in the area from Facebook or your address book.
Those are just a few simple ideas that I had that could make waze and ifttt a great combination. I would personally get more use out of these features than the leaderboard and gamification features and I think a lot of others would agree. After a simple tweet @ifttt, they agreed that it would be useful to have waze on their platform and have added it to their development considerations.
Hope we’ll see it happen soon!