Location-sharing improvements highlight updated Waze traffic app

Crowdsourced navigation app Waze got an update Wednesday, with version 3.5 adding beefed-up location-sharing features to organize group meetings, pick-up friends, and let your family know when you’ll be home.

A new pick-up request feature in Waze 3.5 includes a live map showing you how to get to a location.

The new version of Waze also added Facebook single sign-on, private messaging, toll road alerts, and an updated visual design.

Here’s a look at the new location-sharing highlights.

Pick-up request

If you need to pick-up a friend from work, but you have no idea where that office is, you can use Waze 3.5 to send your friend a pick-up request via SMS or e-mail. If the person approves the request, Waze will grab the location and then navigate directly to it; your friend can view a live map to see you approach in real time.

Since pick-up requests are sent using SMS and email, this feature will work whether or not your friends have Waze installed on their phones.

Group Meetings

If you’re headed to a restaurant, concert, or other event with a group, each driver can share their location with other group members for tracking everyone’s progress in real time. When using Waze’s navigation feature, each group member will be able to see everyone else’s locations as well as estimated times of arrival within Waze.

Go invisible

To stop sharing your active location, press the red icon from Waze’s main menu.

While sharing your location is great, there may be times when you want to stop people from seeing where you are. Whenever your location is being actively shared with a group or on a pick-up request, Waze’s menu icon will turn orange. To turn off location sharing, you just need to tap the orange icon and then a red icon to turn off the live map feature.

Share your location

Previous versions of Waze have also let you share your location with others via SMS or email, a capability that remains in Waze 3.5. You can share your current location, your destination (when you’re using Waze’s navigation feature), saved locations in the app, or recent destination searches. Any location-sharing using this feature is static, meaning there’s no live map component. Unlike the pick-up request and group meetings, this feature requires both users to have Waze installed on their phones.

Waze has also had other limited location-sharing features prior to version 3.5 such as the ability to see nearby Facebook friends on the app’s map. This feature still exists, but now you also have the option to see friends of your Facebook friends when you’re out and about.

Compatibile with both iOS and Android devices, Waze 3.5 is available immediately in the iOS App Store and Google Play.

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