I'm very pleased to hear this @krankyd, because
1) it's great that you are thinking about usability, and
2) you should be open to the sweet, sweet voice of reason
So I'm going to offer my thoughts, which can be corrected and refined by others.
I think there's a great opportunity to kill at least 3 birds with one stone here.
The first point to understand and accept is that the anonymous option, while good, is not sufficient to guarantee anonymity. Just in my ordinary day to day usage, with no effort on my part, I know the names, home address, work addresses of anonymous wazers. Please let me know if you don't accept this, because if you are working under this misapprehension, then you won't see the need for what follows. This is discussed in detail at http://www.waze.com/wiki/index.php/Privacy_issues
Secondly you comment that a tiny number of people have used this option. Now I'm not clear on whether you mean "have ever turned it on, even for 5 seconds" or currently have it on, say last time they connected or were connected to the waze servers when you looked". Let me comment on the numbers:
1) even if people never use that option, they can be comforted and reassured that it is there, in case they ever do want it. You may be surprised how many people are like that
2) Waze is still early adopter. In general, if you'll excuse the expression, we are "attention-whores" and liberal in revealing our location. You don't have a representative sample! The more general population will be more conservative
3) You say the options were confusing. No wonder then, that people didn't choose the option, or even find it. Better documentation is part of the answer. But to say it was hard to know when to use it, and then say not many people used it is circular reasoning
4) I think there are better approaches to usability (see below)
5) People use it *some* of the time. I know some people turn it on just when they get close to home and work. And I and others would use it when going on long road trips. I don't want people seeing me driving around 300km from my home
6) People don't use waze or stop using it at all because they don't know they can hide themselves
Now I tend to be more blasé about my location. I have a monitored security alarm, a hungry vicious Doberman, I'm not a woman living alone, I work from home, I don't leave young women or children at the house. These points do not apply to everyone.
So what to do? Please think about these ideas:
Waze is a social GPS. Turns out the social part can really only be used while driving and revealing your location. Here's what I'd like:
1) A parked-up mode. This solves this problem: http://www.waze.com/wiki/index.php/No_pause_option
So I can spend half an hour planning routes for my next road trip (and checking connectivity, and seeing why Waze avoids certain intersections, and comparing routes); and
Be a social butterfly: engaging in chit chat. Maybe even filing some traffic reports to help other wazers while sitting in my office (when later I can use locations other than where I am)
Grab petrol (gas), drop off a package, pop in to see a friend, go to the shops.
Just play with waze and explore the settings and options. Browse around the map. See what roads are not in the map. Have fun with it. Figure out why it doesn't like the route I always take.
All without generating a bunch of standstill reports (which also divulge my location).
So in park-up mode:
a) I disappear off the map
b) I can chit-chat, etc, but the location of my chit-chat is not my current location - pick a random one within 5 mile radius of my actual location (but consistent for each session, so if I do 30 minutes of chit chat, I don't have a circle of pinned conversations all around my exact location!)
And park-up mode automatically goes off when I start moving (like the road report notifications go off).
And maybe it goes on automatically (with a countdown timer to cancel) once I've been stopped for 10 minutes (or after the first standstill report goes on)
So park-up mode is both 1) paused and 2) ghosted. And I get the 3) route planning/social butterfly option without waze thinking I'm driving but stuck in traffic. (The 3 birds)
I'd even make parked-up mode the default when you start waze - turn it off when I select the Drive on a route, or when it detects me moving.
Also parked-up mode automatically comes on when I arrive at my destination.
2) Ghost option back
People need to feel they have the option of driving without appearing on a map. But let them ping, chat, etc just as normal.
3) Auto ghost mode
You've got the options of home and work as special favourites. Give me these options
a) ghost mode comes on when I'm less than x km of home or work (5 miles if you don't give me a choice of distances)
b) ghost mode comes on when I'm more than x km from home (200 miles if you don't give me a choice of distances)
Finally on the user interface:
For the iphone you already have two buttons (GPS status and server status) that do the same thing. Make the far right button bring up the display for these options. At the very least:
a) park-up mode
b) "off the grid" (ghost mode)
Make it easy for the keyboarders too. One button click with confirmation. Replace the turn app off button (9) - people know how to close apps, or can do through the menu. Or Parkup turns the app off once you've been parked up for 10 minutes with no other activity.
Now all this is subject to refinement of ideas, but there's the gist. And none of it is hard.