CES 2018: SYNC 3-Enabled Ford Vehicles Gaining Waze Support Through iOS AppLink

This week at CES, Ford provided new details about a partnership with navigation app Waze, which will bring Waze's GPS directions onto the touch screen of SYNC 3 vehicles when connected via USB to an iPhone. Powered by Ford AppLink, the feature will let users operate Waze "completely through a vehicle's touch screen," as well as allow for voice control.

As long as the Ford vehicle includes a SYNC 3 infotainment system, users will be able to plug their iPhone into the USB port while running Waze to see the app projected onto the dashboard's touch screen system. Afterwards, all of Waze's features will be accessible, including crowdsourced navigation updates, liking and disliking user-created warnings, adding a new hazard report, carpool lane navigation, and Talk to Waze voice commands.

“Our goal is to bring a human-centered approach to technology in the vehicle, making it as easy as possible for people to integrate the tools that matter most to them,” said Don Butler, Ford executive director, Connected Vehicle and Services. “With the flexibility of our SYNC 3 software and AppLink, customers can easily use Waze to get all the traffic and navigation help they need – on a big screen and without having to fiddle around with their phones while driving.”
The partnership was previously announced at Mobile World Congress last year, and Waze product lead for in-car applications, Jens Baron, mentioned that the company has been working on optimizing the Waze experience on an infotainment system since that time. Using Ford's AppLink SmartDeviceLink (SDL) on iOS, Baron explained that users will "get the most updated version from Waze," and it will be the same as driving with Waze on a smartphone.

Ford explained that the Waze integration will launch in the coming weeks and will be supported on any 2018 model year Ford vehicle that has SYNC 3 version 3.0 or greater. Other vehicles with SYNC 3 will also be able to get Waze via an over-the-air update or update via USB. In addition to Waze, Ford said that other SYNC AppLink integrations will be coming soon, like iHeartRadio.

Ford began expanding its CarPlay support in mid 2016 when it announced its SYNC 3 infotainment system -- which features CarPlay and Android Auto -- would be available across its entire 2017 lineup of cars, SUVs, light trucks, and electric vehicles in the United States. Then in 2017, Ford released a SYNC 3 software update that added CarPlay and Android Auto support to its older 2016 model year vehicles, allowing more users to access Apple apps like Maps, Phone, Music, Messages, and more on their dashboard.

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Waze Becomes First Navigation App to Support Carpool Lanes

Waze today announced it is rolling out three new features in its popular crowdsourced navigation app for iOS and Android, the most notable of which is support for high occupancy vehicle lanes, also known as carpool lanes.

Image via TechCrunch

If you are driving with at least one passenger, or have a hybrid or electric vehicle with a special permit, Waze will now take carpool lanes on highways into consideration when determining your optional route.

If you are carpooling, the feature can enabled under Navigation > Add Toll/HOV pass within Waze's in-app settings. If you have a fuel-efficient vehicle, it can be selected as an option under Navigation > Vehicle Type.

Carpool lane support is initially available to Waze users in 22 states across the United States, and in the Canadian cities of Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. More cities in the United States and Canada will be added over time.

The states supported include Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. Washington D.C. is also supported.

Next, a new "OK Waze" voice command allows for true hands-free use, allowing drivers to initiate navigation, get a preview of the route ahead, send traffic-related reports, add stops along the way, and more while staying focused on the road ahead. The feature can be enabled under Sound & Voice > Talk to Waze > OK Waze.

Talk to Waze is initially available to English-speaking Waze users in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, and will continually roll out in more languages soon.

Last, Waze now supports motorcycles as a vehicle type. In this mode, motorcycle riders will be directed on routes optimized for motorcyclists. Waze says the more motorcyclists ride in this mode, the smarter the routing will become.

Waze, developed by Google, is a free download on the App Store [Direct Link] for iPhone. Today's update doesn't appear to be available yet, although "OK Waze" functionality is working, so some changes may be implemented on the backend.

Tag: Waze

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Google App Now Lets You Get Directions With Apple Maps or Waze

Google's official search app for iOS has been updated this week with more navigation options in the United States and other countries.

In addition to Google Maps, you can now use Apple Maps or Waze for navigation when searching for places and addresses in the Google app.

When you search for an address and tap the navigation button, a menu opens with the three options for directions: Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Waze.

The update also brings search filters to the Google app. Once you've searched for something, scroll across the options bar underneath the search box to find the "Tools" option and filter results by time range and more.

Google's app is free on the App Store [Direct Link] for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

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Waze Update for iOS Lets You Easily Control Spotify From Within Navigation App

Waze and Spotify today announced that an update previously launched on Android smartphones is now making its way to iOS devices, bringing Spotify music playback controls right into Waze's crowd-sourced navigation app. Conversely, you'll also be able to start Waze's GPS navigation from within the Spotify iOS app.

As long as the two apps are installed and you agree to link both accounts together, you'll gain access to a subset of Spotify controls in Waze. At the top of the navigation screen there will be a small Spotify icon, which you can tap to access playback controls, change playlists, and jump directly to Spotify.

Waze said that safety remains a priority with today's update, encouraging drivers to keep their iPhone docked with the app open nearby to focus on the road. Both Waze and Spotify mentioned that the new integration should help further combat distracted driving, thanks to a few streamlined features that reduce the need to toggle between multiple apps. These include automatic music playback when Waze navigation begins, only letting you browse playlists when the car is stopped, and more.
Finlay Clark, UK head of Waze, says: “We are delighted to team up with Spotify to create a new function that allows iOS Wazers to enjoy their favourite music, while being re-routed around traffic in real- time.

“Safety is our priority at Waze. By discouraging drivers from tapping their device to switch between apps while on the move, we believe this partnership presents a valuable way for drivers in the UK to use their favourite technologies whilst concentrating fully on the road ahead.”
Although the announcement came out of Waze's United Kingdom office, the company confirmed that its integration with Spotify is beginning to roll out globally today in markets that support both apps.

Both Waze and Spotify are available to download on the iOS App Store for free.

Tags: Spotify, Waze

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Waze Debuts New Feature for Recording Custom Voice Directions

Mapping app Waze was today updated with a new Voice Recorder feature, allowing users to record their own voice prompts to enable custom directions in a user's own voice. The Voice Recorder option debuted on Android devices in May, but has now expanded to iOS devices.

Recorded voice prompts can be shared with family, friends, and fans, meaning celebrities can also record and then share Waze prompts. Waze plans to work with a network of YouTube creators to create voice packs for distribution on Waze.
Waze, the free, real-time crowdsourced traffic and navigation app, has provided custom voice prompts that have thrilled and delighted Wazers on their daily drives for years. Now, Waze is happy to announce the new Voice Recorder feature, which lets you record all your voice prompts any way you like. Add some character, pizazz, some je ne sais quoi - channel your most commanding or playful mood and let your voice guide the way.
Waze users can turn on the Voice Recorder in Settings/Sound & Voice, where multiple voice prompts can be recorded. A link to the recording can then be shared with friends. There are more than 40 total commands to record. app

Many iPhone users who commute prefer Waze because it offers up superior traffic information and warnings about nearby police officers, along with neat features like the aforementioned custom voice packs.

Waze can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]

Tag: Waze

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