December 17, 2009 | by Andrew Kameka
I’ve always been impressed by the way that Waze has turned its GPS app into a game. They’ve held several contests and games designed to encourage people to drive around and gather road data, strengthening the driver-sourced maps along the way. Today, Waze added another game for the holiday season, along with support for new languages and integration with FourSquare.
The Waze “Treasure Hunt Contest” incorporates the app’s “road goodies,” which are icons that can earn drivers bonus points in the rewards/ranking program that Waze uses as an incentive to map building. For the holiday edition, winter-themed goodies like snowflakes, candy canes, and gift boxes will spread over maps. If a user notices one of these goodies on his her map, that person will have the option to drive towards it and send data to Waze that improves service in that area. That person will also be rewarded for his/her troubles when driving over treasure chests that can be Waze account bonus points or redeemable unnamed prizes. (More information available at the Waze blog)
Waze also enhances the social gaming factor by integrating with Foursquare. Android users can now “check in” to locations with Foursquare through Waze, which can lead to improved standings and a Waze “Road Warrior” Badge in Foursquare (lost? click here).
Most important of all, the app has translation and language support for more languages. Spanish or Italian-speaking readers will be happy to know that they can now operate Waze and hear turn-by-turn directions in their native tongue. True to Waze’s community-driven approach to map building, the language support is actually the result of users organizing and helping the team translate the app into that language. Waze has a Wiki set-up to encourage translation of any language in their “Operation: Translation” program. Bosnian, Brazilian Portuguese, Czech, Dutch, Finnish, French, and Russian are in the pipeline, but anyone willing to contribute can start a new language project.
Who wants to take bets on how long it will take for a group of people to try to start a Klingon translation?