I hear that a lot.
One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of people tell me that Waze sucks because it takes them to some strange place in the middle of nowhere.
If you’re just looking for the solution and don’t want the whole story, here is the answer: Use the Foursquare search
When you search for a destination on Waze it uses its own search to look for your destination by default. I’m not sure how it is in other countries, but in Malaysia where I live, it’s pretty useless. The good news is that there is the option to search for the destination using Google’s search, which is pretty good, or Foursquare’s search, which I personally feel is the best.
Note: Actually it wasn’t too long ago that Waze was updated to use Google’s search by default when searching for a destination, but I don’t find that happening consistently for me. It always tends to default to Waze’s search. If someone has a good answer why, please do drop me a comment.
So far my experience is that Google handles street names pretty well, while the Foursquare works the best when you’re looking for a specific point of interest (POI), such as a major mall in another city.
That should solve your problem. Now to move on to the longer answer.
What’s going on?
Without getting too technical, when using a GPS device or app, there are always two important parts to successfully getting to your destination.
1. The correct destination
2. The proper route
I have had rare instances where Waze (or any GPS app for that matter) gets item #2 wrong, taking me down the wrong way of a one way street or something, but nine out of ten times, I find that the problem is always related to item #1.
I’d also recommend taking an extra step to search for the destination on Google Maps first. Then you’ll have a rough idea if the destination found in Waze is actually the place you want to go to or not. It might seem troublesome, but it’s definitely better than diligently following the directions provided by Waze, only to find that it was accurately directing you to the wrong destination!
It’s not always your fault
I firmly believe that if so many users are making the same mistake, then it’s the fault of the developer who hasn’t designed the interface well enough for the user to discover the proper way to use the application; or you could also argue that Waze just needs to improve its location database. But until Waze actually fixes this problem, I think the best solution is to manually select the Google or Foursquare search.
PS: By the way, if anybody from the Waze team reads this, please let us select our preferred default search engine for this otherwise excellent navigation app.