Waze Adds Google Assistant Voice Control to iOS App
Waze has added Google Assistant voice controls to the iOS version of the popular navigation app. The new voice commands on iOS arrive over a year after Waze integrated the voice assistant into its Android edition.
Google Assistant operates largely the same on Waze for both platforms, with users awakening the voice assistant with “Hey Google” directly from the app. On iOS devices, Google Assistant can set up navigation and driving directions to an address or let a user report traffic and other issues they find along the way entirely hands-free. But, because it’s not native to iOS, Google Assistant includes more voice commands on Android. Waze can search for gas stations and local landmarks, as well as integrate into the user’s calendar and music apps. On iOS, users would have to switch to Siri to use. Waze is also expanding Google Assistant commands geographically, making it available in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other English-speaking countries.
“This partnership with Google Assistant reinforces Waze’s commitment to providing users with the smoothest drive,” Waze product manager Yuval Shoshan said in a statement. “After the successful rollout of the integration for Android users in the U.S., we were excited to help even more people streamline their drive by expanding internationally. Now, all English language users of Waze on Android will be able to access this hands-free option when using Waze to minimize distractions and ensure that they have the best possible journey, keeping their eyes on the road at all times.”
Waze adding Google Assistant to iOS is especially notable after Apple integrated both Waze and Google Maps with Siri last year as part of iOS 13. Siri can open and look for directions on either app with a voice command, although Apple Maps is still the default. Waze may have felt that that was too limited compared to what Google Assistant is capable of. Siri’s limits have led to some creative connections on the road, however. For instance, 7-Eleven launched a Siri shortcut that lets drivers pay for gas by voice. Combining 7-Eleven’s Fuel Loyalty program with Siri is effective but like the Google Assistant integration on Waze, it cuts Apple out of direct consideration. If app developers feel that Siri is too restrictive, this may be how voice access comes to iOS apps in the future.