Waze launches a fun nostalgia mode – but is that what we want?

Get ready to listen to oldies in your car with a smart new event powered by Google-owned Waze navigation. Starting this week, you’ll be able to turn on Retro Mode in Waze to change the look of the app and experience music from decades past.

In a blog post, Waze cited ’70s Disco, ’80s Jazzercise, and ’90s IT aesthetics as examples of how you can theme your trip. Themes will also come with their own quirky radio DJs to liven up the radio show and navigate your journey (which sounds awesome or boring, depending on your mood).

In retro mode you will also be able to change your car icon to a flowerpot, a 90s computer or a Rad Racer sports car for more fun.

Waze has also teamed up with music streaming service TuneIn to deliver 70s music in the UK, 90s hits in the US and Canada, and 80s Alive in France.

To use this new feature, click on “My Waze” in the app and tap on the “Driving with the 80s” banner. The feature is available worldwide in English, French, and Portuguese.

Analysis: some users have other ideas

While this little event seems like a fun addition on the surface, many people who use Waze might prefer more useful app improvements instead. The navigation app often directs commuters to shorter routes to get them to destinations faster, but browsing the app’s subreddit we found that some found it a bit buggy, and some users think the development is in decline.

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A post from a Waze user, even though it’s a few months old, says exactly that. They lament that the app is “progressively worse at routing,” or that the app changes routes mid-journey and adds more time to the trip. Users in the post’s comments mostly seem to echo those sentiments, with many others noting that they only use it to “find out where the cops and other dangers are.”

This community seems concerned that Google is pushing development aside in favor of Maps, which would make sense given that it’s the most popular mobile navigation app in the United States. Some users are also dissatisfied with the point system the app uses to rank reports based on relevance, legitimacy, and to prevent abuse of the system.

So, of course, we’re going to take a fun ride down memory lane with Waze, but let’s also make sure the old road is the best – and that’s the shortest distance from point A in years 1970 and the current point B of 2022.

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