Waze, the location-based social network aimed at drivers, is taking a leaf out of Foursquare’s book by adding a stronger gaming element to its service this Christmas. It is also launching a community-driven translation programme and support for the Foursquare API.
Waze is a mobile app that allows drivers to share information about traffic conditions in real time, helping others to choose the best route to their destination while avoiding jams and accidents that may have caught others out (see our previous coverage here).
Starting today, Waze is launching a ‘Holiday Treasure Hunt’. Treasure chests have been scattered on roads around the world; if you find one and drive over it you will win a real-world prizes. Treasure hunts seem to be in vogue for location-based services at the moment. Gowalla is running a similar scheme while Rummble is running a ’12 Days of Rummblemas’ promotion.
This treasure hunt is in addition to the recently added gaming ‘Road Goodies’ element to Waze. As Waze is building its own map data set it needs drivers to drive on as many roads as possible to improves its knowledge of them. Road Goodies are tiny icons that drivers can collect around the map for bonus points, giving drivers incentives to improve Waze’s map data.
In keeping with the season, extra Road Goodies have been introduced including snow flakes, candy canes and wrapped gifts.
Also from today, Waze includes Foursquare support. You will now be able to check-in to Foursquare locations using the Waze app. Do so enough times and you can win a ‘Waze Road Warrior’ badge for your Foursquare account. That said, you’ll have to be pretty lazy to be checking into locations without actually leaving your car – unless it’s a drive-thru restaurant.
Finally, Waze is attempting to aid its international expansion through a community-led translation programme similar to Facebook’s. Spanish and Italian translations have already been introduced and anyone wanting to flex their linguistic muscles to bring Waze to their language can find out more on the service’s wiki.
Waze is available for iPhone, Android, Symbian and Windows Mobile devices.