Waze for Android and iPhone gets updated. “Road Goodies” brings Pac-Man like gaming and monetary rewards to driving.

by Mike
Posted November 25th, 2009 at 1:23 pm

Think what you will, but navigation apps are pretty much reaching the end of the “feature ladder”. That is, there really isn’t much else you can add to GPS/navigation apps or hardware that will make it any more beneficial. Sure you can find ways to connect the device to more aspects of our lives, but all in all, getting from point A to point B with some goodies in between is straightforward (figuratively). One part of navigation devices (especially software in mobile applications) that frustrates drivers most is coming into a “dead zone”, or an area without any helpful/useful information. This type of frustration usually pertains to user generated mapping services as such a set up is highly customizable and frequently updated though does suffer from basic flaws. Namely, if no one ventures to a particular spot, little information is collected and retained for future users.

With that said, you may recall an app by the name of “Waze” that we covered a couple months back here and here. Just in case you missed the previous posts, the basic concept is easy to understand: Waze is a fast and intuitive user generated turn-by-turn app that manages to retail for free. As mentioned above, areas with little user travel created dead spots in Waze’s mapping data. The problem is obviously figuring out how to get more people traveling though said areas. The solution is clever to say the least. Turn it into a game. A Pac-Man like game called “Road Goodies”… (Video and more inside!)

We’re all familiar with Pac-Man so there’s no need to delve into that. In terms of actually navigating the Pac-man style world, you may be wondering exactly how Waze pulled it off. This “Road Goodies” that I speak of is an ingenious twist on retro gaming that actually entices users to try new routes, explore uncharted areas, and overall have fun. When was the last time you actually had fun using your GPS. Hell, most of the stories I see are of idiots driving into a lake “because their GPS told them to do so” or getting angry and flying off the handle. So you’ll understand when I say that Waze’s Road Goodies are a welcome departure. By now I’m sure you’re curious how Road Goodies works.

  • In areas Waze has determined to be “problem areas”, users will see as different objects or “goodies” on their map. Driving around solves these holes as mapping data is automatically uploaded to Waze. The Goodies break down into the following:

    1. Present: Awarded for the most rare and little known locations. Presents are worth 500 points.
    2. Hammer: More common yet still infrequently traveled — 250 points.
    3. Cherry: Most common — 100 points

You’ll notice that even common areas are included, which if you ask me makes it more fun and encourages users to get to all of those lesser traversed areas.

**Bonus: Holiday High Points Challenge

If you’re looking at this whole thing thinking it’s pointless and dumb, you may want to reconsider as being a curious and adventurous driver could net you up to $500 in prizes if you’re the top voyager! In order to kick off the festivities of their new release as well as celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, Waze is offering up some pretty worthwhile prizes to those who gather the most points. Between November 25th-30th, collecting as many Road Goodies as possible could net you the following:

  • 1st Prize: $500 Amazon gift card
  • 2nd Prize: $300 Amazon gift card
  • 3rd Prize: $200 Amazon gift card

Again, a rather clever and downright cool way to market a new update to an mobile app. The Road Goodies is currently supported on both the iPhone and Android platform. If I were you and I’d head on over to either the App Store or Android Market and get on this game pretty quick. Money has been tight this year, what better way to make a few extra dollars simply by playing road games?

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Thanks Dan

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