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In this series on productivity, author Jess Stratton takes you through the latest tools that will help you run your business and life more efficiently. Each installment covers a particular feature or technique in a different online tool, such as Google Apps, Skype, YouTube, Mint.com, Etsy, and more. Check back every Monday for tips on topics from recording and publishing video chats to managing your finances online.
My name is Jess Stratton, and welcome to Monday Productivity Pointers. This week, I'm talking about using a crowdsource GPS mobile app called Waze. It's indeed crowdsource, meaning the more people that use it interactively, the more real time traffic data you'll get, while you're using it. Waze is available for free, for iPhone, Google Android, and Windows Phone users. You can get it by going to waze.com. That's spelled W-A-Z-E.com. Crowdsource GPS, means that you can be notified where police cars are, traffic jams, road work, and accidents, so that your route and speed can be updated accordingly.
You can even see the most up to date gas prices as submitted by other Waze users, so you can find the cheapest gas near where you are. This also means that it's your job to take part in notifying others of the hazards that you'll come across. You essentially become part of that crowd. But Waze makes it easy. I'm going to tap into the app to show you. You can also try out Waze on a browser, to see what other cars have submitted around you before you try it. On the website, click Live Map to see various icons for police, traffic accidents, and roadwork.
When you start Waze on your mobile for the first time, you do have to allow it to use your location, and you also have to accept the agreement. You start as a new Waze user, and slowly gains points by contributing traffic details to the entire community that's using it. You can create an account, and add your home and a work address, so Waze can even start learning which routes you like to take. I am going to tap the little Waze icon in the left-hand side. And you can see all the things that you can do. For example, you can send an ETA on where you are to someone else, so they'll know exactly where you are, and when you'll get there.
You can tap Navigate, if you want to search for a particular place to go to, and start a new GPS. You can also tap My Waze to get into settings. You have an inbox, where you can see other messages from other Waze users and get Waze notifications. However, I'm going to close out of this, and focus on the teardrop icon on the right-hand side of the screen. It's easy to report an incident to the community. Simply tap that teardrop icon. And tap on the actual incident that you want to report, such as a traffic jam, a police stop, an accident, roadwork, even a map error.
Finally, Waze has an impressive list of preferences. I'm going to tap the tool box, and here's where I can get into my preferences. You can even choose your car's icon, your route preferences, even your preferred gas type. Waze can switch to a lower brightness screen at night, and it can even connect up to social networks to see where your friends are, if you want to allow that. So, that's Waze, check it out, give it a try, and join the community.
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