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Waze rolls out new features to keep you safe during the pandemic

Published Jun 3rd, 2020 6:33PM EDT
Waze Maps Features
Image: Google

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  • Waze announced new features that should help users during the coronavirus health crisis.
  • The Waze app will now display stores that support drive-thru and curbside, emergency food banks, and COVID-19 testing facilities on the map.
  • Waze also partnered up with SpotHero and ParkWhiz to highlight discounted parking places on the map for essential workers.

Police brutality protests are the most important thing happening in the US right now, but the coronavirus health crisis hasn’t disappeared. If anything, the gatherings involved in these protests can increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission, and that goes for protestors and the police. Staying safe in this phase of the disease means using face masks, washing hands often, and practicing social distancing whenever possible. The virus hasn’t disappeared, and outbreaks are always possible, even in regions that have managed to flatten the curve.

Waze on Wednesday announced a bunch of new features meant to keep you safe during the coronavirus health crisis, continuing the work it started a few weeks ago.

Google’s subsidiary announced a few updates in a blog post that Waze users should start noticing soon. Most of them concern the general population, especially people looking to purchase goods and supplies from stores that offer drive-thru and curbside pickup. Waze already announced new icons that indicate whether a business provides either option a few weeks ago.

The company now says that businesses can add these badges to their locations and that Waze users can search, filter, and navigate to badged locations. This support document offers information on how to add Waze badges and how to request them.

Waze will display badges next to stores on the map to indicate support for drive-thru or curbside pickups.

The animation above shows what these badges will look like on the map inside Waze. Waze also displays more than 57,000 thousand emergency food distribution locations, the company said. The listings will appear in the US and India, in partnership with No Kid Hungry and WhyHunger. Also, COVID-19 testing centers will appear on the map as soon as you type “COVID-19” in the search bar.

A new Waze feature concerns essential workers who have to show up at work regardless of whether or not there’s a lockdown or a curfew in place. Waze partnered with SpotHero and ParkWhiz in the US to make it easier for essential workers to find parking but also offer them discounted rates:

Waze app screenshots showing discounted parking spots on the map. Image source: Waze

In addition to providing discounted parking offers, as seen above, Waze will also remember where you parked your car and make it easier to find it.

Long-time Waze fans will surely appreciate all the new features. Just make sure you’re running the latest version of Waze. If Google Maps or Apple Maps are your navigation apps of choice right now, you might consider giving Waze a try, especially during this pandemic. Google’s other maps app is available on iPhone and Android.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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