Get Waze-ing in Welsh

We're excited to share that our fifth voice launch of the year is Welsh! After a year of hard work from our local Waze Community in Wales, Welsh is available to show Wazers the way as both a Voice Direction capability *and* an in-app language. 

There are many to thank for bringing Welsh to Waze, but it all started when Robert Lo Bue, CEO of Applingua, reached out to the Waze team about a year ago. Lo Bue had identified Waze as an app that could be highly beneficial to Wales and Welsh speakers once translated, because everyone needs a Waze to outsmart traffic 😉. Lo Bue then brought on Lowri Lewis, who works with a local organization which seeks to keep the Welsh language alive in the modern world by making it more accessible in people's everyday lives. Their missions resonated as Waze also aims to provide localized experiences to our users across the globe—it was a natural fit!

From there, the support continued to grow as the team expanded to include the local Waze Community and Phil Stead, who eagerly joined the Welsh Localization community after learning of the Welsh translation initiative.

Together, they brought each piece of the Welsh launch to fruition. Starting with translations from the Waze Community, some of whom didn't speak the language, but were so committed to launching Welsh, they found translators. (Bravo!) Then, Welsh-speaking volunteers from Lo Bue jumped in to record sample voice prompts (trust us, it was hard to choose just one) and arrange for studio time to officially record the voice directions in full.

Gareth hard at work in the studio
Finally, the Waze Community and local translators tested the new voice and app language for bugs to ensure a smooth launch.

Now, Wazers everywhere can ride in Welsh. Let's see what all their hard work looks like in the app. 

Head to Settings > General > Language > Welsh to update your app language.

And ride with Gareth under Settings > Voice Directions > Cymraeg - Gareth

If you're feeling inspired, join our Waze Localization Community to help the team continue to grow Welsh (and global) accessibility for all. 

More Waze to #RockTheRoad

Wazers: it's time to celebrate, because today, Waze and Spotify are officially compatible on iOS devices. Starting today, September 18th, 2017 our integrated Waze and Spotify experience will roll out to iOS users over the next few weeks (and will no longer be Android-only). 

All you have to do to #RockTheRoad is make sure your Waze and Spotify apps are both up-to-date so you can ride in style: with driving directions, alerts, *and* your favorite roll-down-the-window-tunes. No setup required—and no more annoying, app-switching interruptions while you drive. 

The seamless Waze and Spotify experience goes beyond having your Waze alerts and music (or podcast) stream together. Once connected, you can:

  • Switch between apps in just one tap, making it easier than ever to control your road trip soundtrack *and* set your destination.
  • Control your song selection so you're always Waze-ing to the best beats (life's too short, right?)
  • View recently played content, and jump back to where you left off in that podcast.
  • Access your uniquely-tailored Spotify recommendations, because the music masters know best. 
Because your safety is always our priority, please remember browsing is blocked as you drive (passengers only, please). 

Good news: there's more to sing in the car about. To help get you in the groove, we've created two Spotify playlists, filled with songs inspired by the Waze Community and thoughtfully-curated by the Spotify music experts themselves. Each will feature the songs you love to Waze to, and each will be updated weekly so they're always fresh. Follow "Driving Through the Years" for US hits (in English) and the "Carrokê" for Brazilian tunes (in Portuguese) and enjoy a hot new soundtrack that'll make today's commute a little livelier (and more fun). 

While we can't always prevent slowdowns, we hope Waze-ing with Spotify—and all of your favorite jams, podcasts, and whatever else you're into—will make your rides easier and more fun. Traffic or not. 

Happy Waze-ing,
The Waze Team 

Waze Data Empowering Hurricane Harvey & Irma Communities to Find Safety

Throughout Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, local and global Waze Community members worked diligently to keep Wazers away from flooded roads, en route to open & full gas stations, and able to find safety at the closest available shelters. Their dedication has been an inspiring example of what our community can achieve when working together. Now, as we consider Waze data collected before, during, and after each devastating hurricane hit, it's clear their hard work as paid off.

Hurricane Harvey 
Houtson was hit head-on with Harvey, displacing entire communities. On August 25th, the first day of the storm, people turned to Waze for more information; there were more than 2,000 searches for "help" from Houston-area Wazers. Thanks to the 24/7 work of the Waze Map Editor community, these searches successfully surfaced Waze Map pins for open, local shelters. Unsurprisingly, app usage declined while the storm moved slowly through the city, reaching the lowest point, 42% below the average of previous weeks, on Saturday, August 26th.*

The areas serviced in the Harvey Carpool launch.

On September 7th, we launched Waze Carpool for free across Harvey-devastated areas in Texas and Louisiana to help get Wazers safely back to their routines, one Harvey Carpool at a time. Immediately, we saw that Wazers across the city stepped up and offered free rides to their neighbors, friends, coworkers and more—a critical community effort after an estimated 1 million cars were lost in the Houston area alone. In fact, the day Harvey Carpool opened, active Waze users jumped 58% compared to previous weeks.** And just one day later, on September 8th, there was an all-time peak in miles driven on Waze in Houston: 5.3 million miles—56% higher than the August 2017 average.

Hurricane Irma 
Only a week after Harvey dissipated, Irma made its way toward the American mainland, with Florida as one of its biggest targets. As evacuation alerts were mandated on September 7th and active Waze users jumped by 50%, the Waze Community set out to help ensure Wazers were finding their way to safety on the best possible route.

While Wazers on the road actively shared real-time reports, including jams and accidents, Waze Map Editors worked hard to process road closures and add gas station information (including pricing and availability) as quickly as possible. With the Waze Community working together as a single, inspiring team, Wazers navigated more than 43 million miles across Florida on September 7th and 8th—a 48% milage increase vs. the previous 3 weeks. On September 8th alone, Wazers averaged 73 miles and over 2 hours of driving.

Beyond the Numbers: Wazers Share their Stories 
While our data certainly speaks to the incredible support the Waze Community has provided to those in need, nothing illustrates true impact better than personal stories shared by Wazers themselves. Here are just a few of the powerful, inspiring anecdotes that remind us of what our communities can accomplish when we all work together.

Wazer Chris

Wazer Debby

Wazer Jamie M.

Wazer Jamie S.

Waze data August/September 2017.
Daily Active Users are defined as users who logged into Waze at least once a day.
*Peaks and vallets are compared to the previous 3 Saturdays.
**Peaks and valleys are compared to the previous 3 Thursdays.

More Waze to Hack Travel

So, what's a hackathon? Here at Waze, it's an opportunity to compile and workshop the ideas and feedback we received from you, our inspiring Waze Community, along with diverse points-of-view from across the company: from marketers to developers to coders, designers and sales folks. Together, we brainstorm new experiences, improvements, and even app features we want to bring to life. 

Waze hackathons have been the beginning of many of our newest and most beloved features, including our recently-launched on iOS and Android Waze Voice Recorder. True to form, our most recent cross-functional hackathon introduced some incredible new ideas and plans to our internal "What's Next for Waze?" conversation.

Below, the masterminds behind some of our top hackathon concepts share what could be on the road ahead for Waze.

Unfortunately, as you may have guessed, not *all* ideas will make it into the app, but that's where you come in. Let us know in the comments below, or on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram channels, which features you'd most like to have in real (well, virtual) life. 

Traveling, Together

Ever find yourself traveling with a friend, or a large group of friends, but in separate cars? This feature would help take the stress out of multi-car travel by simplifying cross-car communication. Whether you're heading out on a long road trip, or to grandma's house, you could create a Wazer cohort and follow a lead Wazer. While enroute, Waze would keep tabs on all your friends, even through spontaneous pit stops and snack breaks. As an added bonus, you could send quick updates with preloaded messages like: "I need to stop at the next gas station."

Seeing in 3D

Your car (or motorbike or arrow) of choice currently available on the Waze map is, let's face it, a 2D image trying to fit into a 3D world. The "Seeing in 3D" update would replace your flat, 2D representation of choice with a 3D model, viewable from every angle, helping you to better orient yourself on the Waze map. Plus, how cool would it be to ride as your favorite character, like BB-8?

Hashtag #Carpool

Waze Carpool, currently available across California, Israel, and recently launched as a small pilot to help Wazers in Hurricane Harvey-affected communities, connects Wazers already behind the wheel with those that'd like to ride in the passenger seat for a #WazeWin trifecta. Fewer cars on the road, fewer emissions in the atmosphere, and Wazers saving time by riding in the carpool lane. Currently, matches are made between any driver and rider who travel the same route, but this feature would expand the options for how drivers and riders could find great matches. Using ride-specific hashtags, users would be able to discover more potential matches with fellow Wazers using the same descriptive hashtag.

Carpool Rendezvous

With Waze Carpool, it's not just about finding a match, it's also about picking the best place for your matches to meet up. This feature would simplify communication between riders and driver to more easily create new meet-up points. As a bonus, they'd also be able to learn a bit more about each other before riding together for the first time. And maybe even share a playlist for the ride?

AnyWaze to Automate Your Life

Tired of opening your gate or garage from your phone or car manually each time you leave (or arrive at) home? Can't remember if you locked your house? Unlike traditional "geofencing" solutions, the "AnyWaze to Automate your Life" hack would allow Waze to use its knowledge of your location, speed, and destination to power these automated features. So whether you're driving home, or just passing by, Waze would know when (and when not) to trigger your pre-determined home automation settings. Think of the possibilities: walking into a cool room thanks to an air-conditioner prompt, or freshly vacuumed floors thanks to a robotic vacuum that jumps into action right after you've left.

Alexa, Ask Waze

Do you like knowing exactly what your commute will look like when you get ready in the morning? Or what time you'd need to leave to make it to the airport on time for your flight? With a Waze-Alexa integration, you'd have these answers as soon as you need with just a simple request, like "Alexa, ask Waze how long it will take to get to work." In response, Alexa would provide you with your expected commute time based on Waze's real-time traffic data.

Waze Emergency Response

Imagine this: an earthquake just hit and a tsunami warning is going off. You've lost power, and you need to get to higher ground and seek help. With Waze Emergency Response, the Waze Community could be the very savior you need. Here's how: you'd open your Waze app and immediately see brightly colored pins on the map, indicating a variety of resources being offered by fellow Wazers: food, shelter, clean water, gas, and more. Since crises are so unpredictable, and their impact can be life-threatening, immediate help from the Waze Community could make a life-changing impact to those in need.

Waze Carpool is Live in Harvey-Impacted Texas & Louisiana

Waze Carpool is live, for free, in Hurricane Harvey-affected areas across Texas and Louisiana.

Hurricane Harvey has devastated areas across Texas, Louisiana, and much of the American south; Houston and Beaumont, Texas experienced a year's worth of rainfall in just over a week, an estimated 60,000 structures were damaged, and up to 1 million cars were destroyed. But the power of the Waze Community is stronger than Harvey. Together, we're working to get the people of Texas and Louisiana back to their routines, one free #HarveyCarpool at a time.

Our Waze and Waze Carpool apps work in tandem to help riders and drivers on similar routes find each other, ride together, and navigate around road closures and hazards with real-time updates from the Waze Community.

Note: ride matches may not be immediate, but we hope that for many, Waze Carpool will provide a community-powered solution for getting back to their daily routine as much as possible in this difficult time. The service relies on a critical mass of drivers and riders, so the more active we are in using the Waze and Waze Carpool apps, the better we can all help our neighbors, friends, family, and coworkers get back on the road.

Community Support 
We're grateful to have early support from the University of Houston administration, who will be informing students of the option to share and search for rides using Waze Carpool. Renu Khator, President of University of Houston and Chancellor of the UH System says:

"We are doing everything we can to assist our students, faculty and staff in meeting the challenges they face after Hurricane Harvey, including their transportation needs. We welcome Waze Carpool to Houston as another resource our UH community can consider as they work through their transportation challenges."

To further inspire community engagement, we've created a Harvey Carpool Facebook Group, where Wazers can connect directly and share resources and transportation solutions, and a @HarveyCarpool Twitter channel, which tweets real-time info on delays that are 15 minutes or more above average in affected regions.

How to #HarveyCarpool in available locations:
Largest Metro Areas in Texas & Louisiana where #HarveyCarpool is available.

Have a car and a tank of gas? 
Offer to drive other Wazers via the Waze app. Once you've setup your profile, you can begin offering up your empty seats to Wazers in need.

Even if you can't offer a Harvey Carpool directly, you can still help our community keep the Waze map updated in real-time, keeping fellow Wazers safe. As you drive, be sure to safely mark road closures, hazards, and more with the alerts menu in Waze.

Need a ride? 
Download the Waze Carpool app and create your rider profile with simple information, like your work and home addresses. Then, start requesting rides and Waze Carpool will immediately begin looking for a match.

Tip: we recommend that riders place requests at least a day in advance, and that drivers offer a ride proactively via Waze anytime they get in the car. 

More Waze to Help
You don't have to be a member of a Harvey-impacted community to help. Spread the word on how #HarveyCarpool can help those that need it most.

Post to your social media profiles, start an email chain, call a friend, do whatever you can to get the word out that Waze Carpool is free for people in Texas and Louisiana impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

You can also help our Waze Map Editors keep area maps up-to-date. A team of 71 Editors across the US came together when Harvey first hit, providing around-the-clock coverage to update the Waze Map with shelter and road information. You can support their effort by joining the Waze Map Editor ranks. And if you're already and Editor, you can help by flagging shelters, road closures, hazards, gas availability and more helpful info in real-time.

Stay safe,
The Waze Carpool Team