by Camden Cassels
This past week, Waze announced the beta testing of the Waze Audio Player with the full rollout scheduled within the next few weeks. This new feature will allow ‘Wazers’ to switch between seven different audio partners without leaving the Waze app. Which audio players are in on this deal? What does this mean for driver safety? Here’s what you need to know:
Waze is lightening the load with more streaming features for your next road trip. On Monday, Waze announced that the app will feature an audio player to offer more listening options for their users. The beta version of the audio-enhanced Waze app was released on October 29th, featuring partnerships with multiple companies to enhance the listening experience of drivers. The deal aims to transform Waze from a navigational guide to an entertainment equipped travel tool.
The deal includes partnerships with some of the world’s heaviest-hitters in the music and podcast industries. Spotify, Pandora, Deezer, TuneIn, Stitcher, NPR, iHeartRadio, and Scribd are set to integrate with the Waze app starting on November 14th. While this deal adds a wide scope of options, this is not the first audio player deal that Waze has made.
Last year, Waze made Spotify the first audio company to feature their music content on the navigation app. The deal tested the waters with streaming integration in the Waze app. Linked with Spotify, Waze could pinpoint problems and strengths of the integration from a user standpoint. Now, with seven additional audio content partners, Waze will be able to harness their experience with Spotify to continue their success in providing more listening options to drivers.
In the solo partnership, both Spotify and Waze learned that the connection made sense. For Waze, offering music on their platform kept users more engaged and made them more likely to use the app. For Spotify, the partnership exposed 50 million users to the Spotify app in tandem with the driving experience.
To build on this success, Waze expanded their partnerships to include the seven additional companies starting on Monday. The partners of Waze are essentially guaranteed to see an increase in subscribers, ad revenues, and website traffic with the influx of users on the road.
Waze hopes that these listening options will offer a safer user experience behind the wheel rather than serve as a distraction. Waze has maintained that with the seamless integration of the listening apps, drivers will spend less time switching through platforms and watching their screen. If the change goes as planned, drivers will spend more time enjoying the audio from their speakers with both hands on the wheel.
Waze has integrated the audio platforms in a way that all browsing can be done within the Waze app. While a user locates their desired content on NPR, Spotify, Pandora, or other platform, the Waze navigation will remain on the top of the screen. This will encourage less app-switching, more time with eyes on the road, and hopefully, lead to fewer accidents.
While handling your phone in the driver’s seat is illegal, this law is difficult to enforce and scarcely followed. This makes the Waze integrations that much more appealing. These integrations will hopefully shorten the time needed to find the desired audio content, resulting in safer roads for everybody. Moving forward, Waze may be the “driving” force behind road trip playlists and morning podcast commutes.