Waze’s new gas price feature comes at a time when more apps are arriving on the scene to help iOS users track down cheaper fuel. Just last week, YellowPages.com released its free Gas Guru app for the iPhone. That app uses Oil Price Information Service Listings to show updated fuel prices in your vicinity; Gas Guru also includes recommendations and directions to nearby coffee shops, restaurants, ATMs, and auto repair places. Since it introduced a gas price feature to its YP Local Search app last fall, the developer says it’s seen triple-digit growth in searches for not only gas prices but overall auto-related categories.
“There is a great opportunity for app developers to address the unique set of needs of drivers and car owners, delivering locally and contextually relevant recommendations that also drive local commerce,” said Rohan Chandran, YP’s head of mobile products.
Gas price data leads the changes in Waze 3.2, but it’s not the only addition in Wednesday’s update. The category search feature not only lists gas stations, but also banks, parking lots, convenience stores, and other places you may need to stop during your travels. An added waypoints feature lets you insert stops along your route; Waze will now show the estimated time of arrival to both your next stop and final destination. Android users get voice control features for reporting traffic incidents—a capability iOS users have enjoyed since February. And an inbox lets users save updates from the Waze community.
Waze is about to get some stiff competition in the crowd-sourced traffic data business. At last week’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple announced changes to its Maps app in this fall’s coming iOS 6 update, including traffic reports based on anonymous crowd-sourced data from iOS users.
The iOS 6 news didn’t surprise Waze’s Eisnor, who noted that Apple had revealed plans to build a crowd-sourced traffic database more than a year ago when the company detailed how it uses iPhone location data. “Our difference isn’t just crowd-sourcing, it’s how we work with the crowd and our community,” Eisnor said.