How Much Does it Cost to Create a Navigation App Like Waze?

Just admit it. I dare say you will agree that it’s too difficult (or even impossible) to imagine our life without GPS navigation apps, isn’t it? Recent statistics by App Annie only proves it! Just take a look at the download rate of the best 2 GPS navigation apps in Google Play:

Waze navigation app may have less users than Google Maps, but it's still an impressive number
Do you still think wheter it is profitable to build a navigation app or not?

Impressive, right? And this is no accident. Such apps can suggest the best way to get to our destination point in the shortest time or help us to find the nearest coffee house with fresh pastries while we’re waiting for our friends. But is there a place for something innovative?

It may erroneously seem that we don’t need such a diversity of car navigation apps because they all are quite similar. “What can you add to a navigation app except for the navigation?” you may ask. A bunch of cool things, as it turned out! And the Waze navigation app is one of the brightest examples. In this article we will find out what kind of an app Waze is and how much it costs to build something similar.

What is Waze and why is it notable?

Waze is a GPS navigation app with a broad variety of useful and amusing features. All together they provide users with an exciting and funny experience. A custom catchy design is also one more reason to fall in love with this app.

This car navigation app is quite simple, but beautiful
That's how Waze looks like

How has it all started?

Nowadays Waze is the second most popular navigation app (after Google Maps) in the American Apple’s App Store. It may seem unbelievable that 9 years after the first release it holds close attention of users all over the world. And even more.

The story began in 2008. At that time Israeli developers Uri Levine, Ehud Shabtai and Amir Shinar could hardly believe that 5 years later they will be striking $1.3 billion bargain with Google.

Interesting fact: according to the deal, each Waze’s employee has received about $1.2 million payment making it the biggest payout to employees in the history of the Israeli IT sector.

The company grew quickly and confidently. By 2010 it raised $25 million of funding, and a year after – $30 million more.

This was followed by the rise in popularity: as of January 2012, Waze had 12 million downloads, but in July 2012 the app already had 20 million users. At the time of the deal with Google in June 2013 Yahoo! has reported that Waze reached 50 million users. Impressive changes in such a short time, right?

Let’s find out what has boosted attention to this app so much.

What’s so special?

Waze is the GPS navigation app with elements of social networking. It provides drivers with the latest and most accurate data gathered from other users in the area. There are 2 ways which Waze uses to collect and share information:

  • Passive, when the app analyzes cars’ speed to indicate traffic jams and suggest you the shortest and fastest way to your destination.
  • Active, when users themselves report about anything that may turn your ride into an unpleasant adventure – car accidents, road closures and even police posts.
This truck navigation app collects different useful data from drivers
Waze uses all available sources of data to provide the most complete and useful information to drivers

Finally, you get the most up-to-date traffic information from the same drivers as you are. However, there are even more exciting features. Let’s take a closer look at them.

1. Add-ons

Add-ons are this “secret component” which makes Waze so unique and catchy. With its help, you can expand the list of possible functions and personalize your interaction with the app. For example, add-ons can integrate Foursquare and Facebook friends to Waze or notify you when driving through a high-crime area.

2. Fancy user interface

The custom Waze’s interface is also one of the reasons why you can recognize this app in just a few seconds. Instead of standard navigation design Waze has funny and nice cartoon-like icons.

Moreover, app’s interface is quite intuitive and easy to operate with. It won’t take too long to get used to Waze and discover all its functions.

Waze navigation app has a fresh and fancy design
Cool cartoon-like design is another advantage of Waze navigation app

Nice, isn’t it? And, by the way, that is what Waze app clones are often short off – a fresh and fancy user interface.

3. Real-time updates

It’s cool to have high-quality satellite images in a truck navigation app, but Waze went even further. Real-time notifications from other users create an extremely useful user experience. Simple, but effective!

Read Also How to Build a Mobile app With Geolocation?

Moreover, you can also upload photos and add notes to provide others with the totally complete and accurate data.

4. Additional features

Except 3 main advantages mentioned above, Waze has several extra features which make this app even cooler. For example:

  • Carpooling, which allows you to give someone a lift and receive a little remuneration;
  • Planned drive that calculates a perfect departure time according to your destination place and time;
  • Gas stations’ ranking, which helps to find the cheapest gasoline in the area.
Waze navigation app also has some unique features
Waze's unique features allowed to attract even more users

What do you need to develop a navigation app like Waze?

Are you interested in creating an app like Waze? Then you should plan carefully. First of all, think about the essentials of your future app.

Firstly, GPS/Geolocation is the core function of any navigation app. Your helper here is the Google Maps Directions API, which provides you with a list of turn-by-turn instructions and readable notifications. As an alternative, you can use Skobbler or HERE Maps SDKs to make your dreams come true and create an effective tracking system for your users.

It requires about 32 development hours to add geolocation and about 35 hours more to design a ride feature.

You can't create a navigation app without a GPS
Geolocation is the heart of any app like Waze (image by Ghani Pradita)

Secondly, I can’t imagine a navigation app development without creating a voice recognition system. Drivers often have no time or possibility to type addresses and track preferable routes. So offer them an alternative way!

You can also spend more efforts and design voice instructions. It’s perfect for guiding drivers without distracting their attention from the road.

For this purpose, you can use a set of tools. At first, use Google Cloud API or API.AI to transform voice commands into a text. Then send it in the HERE iOS and Android SDKs or Google Directions so as to process this text and come up with a route. To complete your app with a voice turn-by-turn navigation your developers will require additional 50 hours.

Voice commands is a cool addition to your Waze app clone
Add a voice recognition system to your app and make it even greater! (image by Nur Praditya Wibisono)

Thirdly, if you want to build your own navigation app similar to Waze you should add some social networking elements. For instance, it can be profiles or chat function. It won’t take long – just about 8-10 hours – but it's great for marketing purposes and word of mouth and will definitely bring more users to your app.

And the last one, but still important: don’t forget to create a custom and catchy design!

What’s about the price?

It seems that we have mentioned all the “must-haves” for a Waze app clone. Are you full of bright ideas now? Do you feel so enthusiastic like never before? Do not hurry. We have to deal with another issue. That’s a price.

Despite the cost of Waze app was established at more than $1 billion (at the moment of the deal with Google), you will require significantly less money to create a navigation app like this. The minimum cost to build a navigation app starts at $25-30 thousand and grows in proportion to app’s complexity.

If you want to reduce navigation app development costs, you can start with something simpler and smaller, but also cheaper. For example, build an MVP.

Read Also 7 Reasons why I need an MVP for my startup

Conclusion

Waze navigation app has shaken the GPS apps market. So it’s not a surprise that it has attracted millions of users all over the world. In this article, we have told you how you can get a piece of this popularity too by building an app like Waze.

First of all, don’t forget about features that are necessary for designing a Waze app clone. These are:

  • a GPS navigation function;
  • a voice recognition feature;
  • social networking elements (as profiles and chats);
  • a fresh and memorable UI.

Approximate cost to build a navigation app like this starts at $25,000. But you can lower risks by creating an MVP for your app at first. Take your chance and good luck!

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