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Google Maps vs Waze

Even though Google purchased Waze Mobile back in 2013, it continued to operate both map apps. Google vs Waze is something that many drivers have thought about but may have been hesitant to test out themselves.

Today, we will go over some of the main features offered by those two apps and also point out their best uses. While this will hopefully help you make an informed decision, you may also drop a comment down below to ask additional questions!

Google Maps vs Waze – What’s the difference?

The first question that most people will ask themselves is just how Google Maps and Waze differ from each other. While there are various answers to this question, let us look at it from a functional perspective.

Google Maps is your standard map app, present in virtually every country in the world and allowing you to find pretty much anything. It can also give you transportation and navigation options for all kinds of vehicles, including public transport, bicycles, and even taxis.

Waze, on the other hand, is more of a driving/navigation app. Its killer feature is that it crowdsources data in real time in what could be considered a mini social network. More specifically, it can tell you a lot about traffic, alternative routes, accidents, and even the location of police officers.

As you have probably noticed already, Google Maps sports some features similar to Waze. When Google bought Waze, it simply integrated some of its services to its own map app, without taking away from the main Waze app.

With Google Maps, however, regular users are not able to make an active contribution. While Google will indeed gather data while you are driving so it knows if there’s heavy traffic in your location, for instance, Waze will allow you to also mark a police roadblock or an accident in an instant.

One thing worth noting is that Google Maps is certainly available in more regions than Waze as it covers a lot more maps. However, Waze is also available worldwide and covers most metropolitan regions quite well.

Obviously, there are a lot more differences between the two apps, but these points should more than cover what we are trying to convey here.

Interface and user interaction

While functionality is the name of the game for some people, many users will be hesitant to use an app if they do not like or do not understand its interface. Thankfully, both apps are pretty straightforward as navigation apps are pretty standard nowadays.

Google Maps is the more familiar of the two and its driving component is very easy to use. Simply tap on the directions menu, enter your destination, and you will instantly get navigation directions.

Waze is also very similar. As the app is meant to be used for driving only, you can simply enter your destination and instantly receive a route in return. While previous versions of the Waze app were admittedly painful to the eye, the newest versions have a certain charm with information displayed in a very clear way.

Since both apps are heavily used by drivers, they are more than happy to accommodate such processes. For instance, they will easily recognize that you are in the car and both will be able to accept voice commands, a very handy feature to keep your eyes on the road at all times.

As far as driving directions go, which app you like the most will boil down to personal preference. In my experience, both apps provide very clear directions though Google Maps is sometimes better at recognizing more advanced routes and giving you very precise lane directions.


Since we are focusing on driving, we are not going to go through the entire feature list of Google Maps here. Instead, we will only talk about features directly related to driving as this is exactly what the Google Maps vs Waze comparisons are concerned with.

As mentioned before, both apps will readily accommodate your need for navigation assistance as they use similar technologies to get you from point A to point B. With that said, the way they approach navigation does differ slightly.

Google Maps seems to know most routes very well. It will often give you a choice between two or three options but will mainly stick with well-known routes, unless there is a known road closure or something similar that would prevent you from using those routes.

It also wins in the lane assist area, as mentioned previously. Google Maps seems to have slightly better data than Waze which contributes to it giving you accurate information regardless of where you are.

While this might come as a surprise to some, Waze is actually a lot more customizable than Google Maps. You can pretty much use Waze exactly how you want, down to custom voice packs so you can have Morgan Freeman narrating your journey.

Alerts are where Waze shines the most. In fact, you can even use Waze for this purpose only, alerting you to nearby traffic, accidents, and police presence. This is particularly useful when you are driving a known-route but still want to be kept updated with the latest road information.

Getting you where you want to be

Regardless of all the other features that these two apps have, the main concern in the Google Maps vs Waze debates is which app can get you to your destination faster or easier.

The main concern of Maps is to get you to your destination. While it offers several distractions, such as the ability to add stops to your route (so you can fill up with gas or get some snacks), these are all optional and you never have to see them if you don’t want to.

With Waze, its main concern is getting you to your destination fast. Waze will often change its navigation directions for numerous reasons. For instance, if there is a slight traffic jam ahead of your current route, it will quickly compute another way which will get you where you want to go faster.

That can be both a blessing and a curse. Circumventing a monotonous highway with a lot of traffic is fantastic when the app works as it should. The problem is that things do not always work that way.

In reality, Waze might sometimes take you through narrow backstreets and roads full of uncomfortable turns so that it can save you a minute or two. Whether that is worth it or not depends entirely on you but many people will be uncomfortable with that idea.

With that said, if you are someone who likes to explore their area, then Waze is absolutely phenomenal. Instead of going through the same routes every single day, you will be able to discover entirely new areas. Some will be nice, some will be bad, but it will always be an adventure.

Finally, Google Maps is simply better at driving you to random spots. If you want to get some fast food, commanding Maps to take you to the nearest joint is incredibly simple. Waze, on the other hand, definitely struggles with such commands.


While both apps have some obvious strengths and weaknesses on paper, reality often works in different ways. Unless you actually use both of them, you will not know which app is right for your specific circumstances.

As a general rule, Waze is often better at taking you to your destination faster, especially if you do not care about the route you take. Its alerts are fantastic and everything happens in near-real-time as its users constantly provide updates.

On the other hand, Google Maps is a more complete map app with more solid data that will always take you to your exact destination, regardless of what that might be. However, you might sometimes have to be stuck in traffic to do so.

Hopefully, this article has allowed you to understand the Google Maps vs Waze debates better. If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, leave a message below!


  1. Google is not very accurate, it will take you to backroutes instead of the main streets, it will literally take you to the highway instead of the local streets , unless I don’t know the location Google maps is only a backup, I do believe that mapquest is actually more accurate..

  2. Interesting to see such a wildly different experience. In my area, Google has consistently been more accurate.

    Not sure if you are familiar with this but in both Waze and Google there is an option to avoid things like motorways, allowing you more control over your journey.

  3. I drive for a living and I can tell you Google would take me on a highway instead of a local streets , just because the device thinks it’s faster ! I can send you screenshots of this insanity, probably waze is better!

  4. Oh I definitely believe you, I think it definitely depends on the area as I’ve had different experiences when on holidays with Waze/Google Maps.

    In the end, trying out the apps and seeing what works for you is what everyone should do.

  5. A nice read regarding the advantages and other features of both Google Maps and Waze. Both are evenly matched and as the author said the user can find their preferred choice only after trying out both of them.

  6. Nice write-up. One way I like to think of it is that if I want to find a location, I use Google Maps. If I’m commuting around my city, I use Waze. The two really do serve two different intended uses.


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