Okay, I've only been using this app for a very short time, but perhaps my intial impressions will be useful.
My history: I've owned a PDA of one kind or another since the US Robotics PalmPilot days. Just recently I replaced my Palm Treo with a Samsung Omnia (Win Mobile). On the Palm I used Google Maps, and while I really like the idea of Waze, I still find myself using Google for things Waze could provide.
- Loading was easy. Logging in was easy. Figuring out what I was looking at when i launched it, not so easy. Perhaps a tutorial would be good to show you what each button does and how to get started with some easy updates (e.g. munching).
- In both 2D and 3D modes, the maps shows me about the same thing I can see with my own eyes. My commute is huge, from one end of LA to the other, daily. I need to know way in advance if Im going to get traffic so I can plan out my route. Often I can take a mountain road or side road to bypass traffic, but only if I see 10-30 miles in advance or more. 3D mode could rotate to a lower angle of view (i.e. you can see farther) based on speed. At 70mph by the time traffic appears on the screen I see it. In fact, I have already been able to see traffic before it appeared on the screen.
- The map should be usable when scrolled out to see an entire city's freeway system. This is why I still use Google maps. When I scroll out the LA area I get a non-descript set of unlabeled lines. There should be a high-level map that is user-friendly so we can see, at a glance, the freeway/highway system in our area at a glance
- I didn't like that I couldn't scroll out easily and maintain the car in the center of the map. I scrolled out, then hit center and was back to being able to see less than a mile again. For commuters we need to be able to see way ahead. There should be an option to center on location without re-zooming. If that already exists, I couldn't find it.
- Loved my first munching experience. To be honest, until my first cookie I was really wondering why I was using Waze instead of Google Maps. Cookies, the point system, and real-time reports are why we should use Waze instead. It seems to me that whatever you can do to encourage participation is a good thing, and reward those who participate in some way (I posted an idea about this in a thread about the point system).
- Buttons and text should be larger while driving, or configurable to be larger. I've been asked if I was in traffic a couple times, and it was distracting trying to read what was being asked while trying to avoid the traffic itself. Big finger-friendly buttons that we can customize to our phone would be a huge plus.
- When I lose GPS my location is not being shown based on cell phone tower. Seems to me that if that happens the icon should change but we should keep moving based on estimate cell tower location. When it happened to me (on the 405, in full sight of sky all round) my map just locked up until GPS was reestablished.
- I'm wondering if (and if not, why not) Waze uses the traffic sensor system in LA (and other cities). This is what google, most radio and TV traffic reporters, and a large number of commuters use. I understand that Waze is based on user info, but if there is an accessable system like that shouldn't it be accessed? Is there a cost?
- As a very regular commuter, I'm interested in seeing how Waze will try to route me around traffic. This hasn't happened yet, but I've only used it a couple times. I should be able to suggest routes, for example using Old Sepulveda instead of the 405 when the Sepulveda Pass is not moving.
I'm having fun and will participate. The current interface has promise but cannot replace Google Maps for seeing the big picture of traffic in a city, and it should. I want to load one App, and would love to ditch Google for good.