Battle of Navigation Apps: Waze vs Google Maps

Battle of Navigation Apps: Waze vs Google Maps

Battle of Navigation Apps: Waze vs Google Maps

By: Melvin Magadia for Automart.PH

When finding the best route out of traffic, navigation apps provide you with the best directions to your destination. When it comes to navigational aids, there are many options that are available for download, but two apps will always be on top of the list– Waze & Google Maps.

Google owns both Waze and Google Maps. Statistics-wise, Google Maps still dominates with 67% of motorists using the app and Waze at just 12%. As of 2020, Statista revealed that Google Maps received 23.4 million downloads, while 11.2 million smartphone users downloaded Waze. In this article, we discuss the pros and cons of each app so you can decide on which one to use for your navigation needs.

Showdown of Navigation Apps

Before making a head-to-head comparison, let us first discuss their similarities.

Data Display

Both apps have similarities in showing map data. Both have speedometers to help you stay within the speed limit. It shows the location, traffic data, speed limits, and road hazards. When you zoom into the map on either app, you can see more details, such as street names and location names.

In addition, Waze and Google Maps also display information about nearby businesses such as bars and restaurants. However, Google Maps provides more details about these business establishments, such as menus and operating hours.


While both Waze and Google Maps are customizable, the former scores one over the latter. Waze allows you to select from the voices of celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Cristina Aguilera, Elvis Presley, and many more, telling you the directions where to go. You can even use your own voice if you prefer that. Finally, Waze allows you to choose the type of vehicle and the fuel you use. Google Maps only lets you select between accents and languages.


Both Google Maps and Waze are available on iOS and Android devices. Both are compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, so it does not matter which operating system your smartphone is running. You can use both navigation apps.

Differences Between Google Maps and Waze

Google Maps is a traditional navigation app. You type in a location, and the app will find the best route to get there, no matter how you plan to do it. Whether you are walking, driving, cycling, or commuting, Google Maps has something to offer. It even alerts you of obstacles or traffic along the way and recommends a different route.

On the other hand, Waze is designed exclusively for car and motorbike users. Instead of finding the quickest single path to your destination and leaving you to it, the app always analyzes conditions and looks for the quickest possible way. Although Google Maps also determines traffic conditions, it will flag traffic or obstacles it knows about on-screen. It will send you on the same pre-set route regardless of changing road conditions.

Moreover, Google Maps combines transport types seamlessly. Thus, if you need to take the bus and walk to a destination at the same time. Google Maps is your best option, Google Maps is about fuel efficiency, while Waze is about ETA.


Google Maps sets the bar for navigation apps because it provides high-quality apps not just for drivers but for commuters as well. Waze, meanwhile, is a purely driver-focused app. It is best known for its heavily crowd-sourced approach and minimalist interface. With Waze, drivers can share real-time data about accidents, traffic incidents, speed limits, speed traps, and other information to help drivers find the fastest possible route.

The Verdict

Both Google Maps and Waze aim for users to reach their destination. Both apps can help determine traffic conditions, but the difference is that Google Maps flags traffic or obstacles it is aware of on-screen. Unlike Waze, however, Google Maps will not change your route regardless of changing conditions.

Waze is focused on one thing and that is to reduce your time on the road so you can quickly reach your destination. For this reason, you may find yourself in some random place as the app tries to find the best way you need to go to reach your destination in the least possible time.

Winner: Waze

Interface And Design

Google Maps has a more traditional design with all the on-screen information. Waze, meanwhile, has a simpler approach with fewer details and a cartoonish design.

This difference in design is attributed to the market they are targeting. Waze helps motorists reach their destination while avoiding traffic and road hazards while Google Maps helps not only navigation but also in locating other things like bars, restaurants, shopping malls, banks, and others.

When it comes to navigation though, Waze removes some intricacies and provides only the information that you need. Google Maps tends to clutter your view because of the additional information it provides.

Winner: Waze

Public and Alternate Transportation

On this aspect, Google Maps is the clear winner. Waze is only designed to help drivers find a faster route to their destination but if you are riding public transportation, you won’t have that benefit. Google Maps supports public transportation, walking, and cycling. It is loaded with lots of public transportation information, such as how busy a particular service or area will be.

Winner: Google Maps


Both apps are heavy on data, but Waze is more data-reliant because it relies on user-submitted information. The app collects data automatically as drivers go around routes with the app open. Users can also submit reports about obstacles or hazards that may impede other drivers.

While Google Maps also provides road conditions, it relies on historical data to determine conditions at certain times of the day. However, it can also provide real-time information from traffic sensors and app users. Although the system being used has some similarities, Google Maps can provide more information than Waze.

Winner: Google Maps


Google Maps is more detailed and has a lot of resources to back it up. It is more direct to point regardless of how you choose to get around. Although it can anticipate and see road conditions, it is not as proactive as Waze in sending you to a different route. Waze is very limited because it only offers navigation for drivers. It can also drain your smartphone’s battery due to heavy data sharing.

With that in mind, if you are a driver who wants to reach your destination as quickly as possible, Waze is your navigation app. But if you are just a commuter, Google Maps is your best option.

Content Editor Kyle Liong contributed to this story.

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