Waze Rolling Out Google Assistant Integration Today for Hands-Free Driving Access
Starting today, Waze users on Android devices can use Google Assistant with the popular navigation app. Users are able to report accidents and traffic, search for locations, and other facets of the app by voice, instead of needing to use their hands. The update does not yet appear in Google Play, but presumably, this will roll out in stages as it does for other Android app updates. It is not clear when, or if, this deep integration will eventually come to iOS.
The new integration, originally announced at Google I/O, uses the same “Hey Google,” opening line, but with new commands such as “report traffic” and “check alternative routes” carried out via Waze. Google has been active in integrating Waze into its broader platform of products since it purchased the Israeli-founded company in 2013. Waze powers elements of Google Maps, including some of the traffic reports.
Along with its own features, Waze already integrates with the functions of Android phones as well as digital streaming services like Spotify. Drivers can pick the music they want to listen to, send messages or make calls, and generally use their phones without having to leave the map screen or use their hands.
Waze to Go
Adding Waze to the list of Google Assistant-supported apps is a logical move for Google, and one it has been building towards. Android Auto offered some basic Google Assistant functions early on but really took advantage of the voice assistant when it fully integrated all of Google Assistant’s commands last year.
That included getting directions with Google Maps, but presumably will now also offer access to Waze and its own real-time updates and suggestions. As Android Auto is already available for more than 400 car models, that brings Waze and its more unique feel (including an option to let Cookie Monster be your navigator for a limited time) to a lot more drivers who want to stay hands-free when navigating.