Mapping Apps Are Getting “Smarter” … That Might Not Be Good News

This post is by Rohit Bhargava from Influential Marketing

Waze announced several “improvements” this week including the ability to warn you about emergency vehicles ahead, warnings for sharp turns coming up and alert you about which lane you should be in as you enter a roundabout. In other words, they have launched features to help distract drivers who are paying attention to the road to look at their phones instead.

If you’re feeling the snark from my commentary on this, I admit I’m not impressed by these sorts of additions. Instead, I worry that a phone aggressively alerting a driver about an approaching fire engine makes it more likely that drivers will take their eyes off the road to look at the phone at exactly the wrong moment.

The real innovation I would love to see is a mapping app that actively works to minimize the number of times you need to pay attention to it. Only show me upcoming turns and NOT popups asking me if I want to stop for a coffee or if a speed-trap another driver reported is still there. Reading this, I’m desperately hoping it doesn’t take some sort of traffic accident or disaster to show Waze why all these additions might not be helping as many people as they think.