Useful Car Tips

Car Navigation Apps To Consider

January 18, 2019
Navigation apps are used by drivers every day, from traveling to far-away locations to exploring new roads. Chances are, you’ve recently used one yourself. There are a plethora of options in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, but not all are created equal. Let’s take a deeper look into how some popular apps compare to one another, as well as some alternatives you may wish to consider. GOOGLE MAPS Google Maps, available on both Android and iOS, has quickly become the most popular app among smartphone users. According to data compiled by The Manifest, 77% of smartphone users regularly utilize navigation apps, with a whopping 67% of them preferring Google Maps. But why does Google Maps have such an overwhelming majority in rate of use? Google’s simple user interface belies its sophisticated GPS functionality powered by the Google search engine. This integration means locations are easy to find and navigate to, with an added bonus of having Google business reviews at your fingertips. Lane guidance, automatic re-routing based on traffic, and street view are also useful features offered by the app. With an additional perk of straightforward and easy to use offline accessibility by downloading maps, Google Maps holistically amounts to a solid navigation app with most of the bells and whistles offered by its competitors. APPLE MAPS Sorry Android users, Apple Maps is only available for iOS devices. While it does come preloaded on new Apple smartphones and tablets, statistics show it has among the lowest rate of use between its competitors. Apple Maps offers a simple UI, lane guidance, and proactive suggestions, all of which are functionally quite similar to competing apps. Where it gets ahead of its competitors though is in less data and battery usage; important factors for those without unlimited data or scrambling for the nearest charger. And if you’re a fan of Siri, you’re in luck, as Siri integrates into Apple Maps and can generate navigation information with a voice prompt alone. Where Apple Maps doesn’t shine is with its map data. While Google uses in-house tech to shape the landscape of its app, Apple instead relies on a third party, Tom Tom. Put simply, Google has a massive resource advantage in this respect which provides the end user with more detailed (and sometimes more accurate) map information. In fact, Apple has surpassed Google in map quality in just 3.1% of the United States according to information from The Verge. WAZE Waze holds the distinction of being the most popular community-based and crowdsourced navigation app on the market. Thanks to the inherent nature of its data collection, it offers some clear advantages over its competitors. These include alerts to police activity and traffic hazards such as accidents and items on the road, all self-reported by 50 million other Waze users. A clean, unobtrusive interface which only displays information most important to the driver adds to its functionality. More functionality comes thanks to the local road speed limit being displayed, complete with a red font if you go over the limit. Waze is designed to be wholly centered around the driver. Its use would probably be best in unfamiliar towns or even major metropolitan areas, where its constant road updates will help you best escape traffic. Just be aware of Waze’s advertisements appearing on screen. Although they only appear when your car is stopped, you may find them annoying or obtrusive. SO WHAT SHOULD I PICK? For most, Google Maps will likely suffice. Its tremendous usage advantage among navigation apps (67% of users!) points to its capabilities. An intuitive UI, straightforward offline utility, and a map replete with detailed information on many locations makes Google Maps the best app for navigation. If you’re not convinced, or just not a big fan of Google, Apple Maps will give you most of the functionality of its bigger competitor while also tying in Siri integration (provided you have an iOS device, of course). Waze is unique in some ways among the three. While ads and possible increased battery expenditure may not be attractive, the app makes up for it in other respects. If Google Maps is king of general navigation, Waze is king of navigation by car. It undeniably offers one of the best experiences for those eschewing public transportation or cycling/walking in favor of driving to their destination. Although these three navigation apps are currently some of the most popular, they might not be the best for you. It may be worth exploring up-and-coming apps like Citymapper, MapQuest, and DriveMode. We hope our quick guide has helped you out in your search for the right app for you. Whichever direction you go, you can be sure to find the perfect navigation app for your needs.
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