Waze Craze: eerie directions, native ads & ride-sharing

madeaThere have been some eerie changes in the Waze app lately. You can set your Waze app to hear directions from Madea, get adds in your calendar and carpool for 54 cents a mile.

Boo says Madea about the new Halloween movie, but now U.S. Wazers can have their directions voiced by Mabel “Madea” Simmons aka Tyler Perry. This latest Waze voice celebrates Perry’s latest film, Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween, with the tagline “Trick or Treat. Fools.”

Using the Waze app for iOS or Android to access go  to Settings > Sound > Voice Language > Tyler Perry as Madea. It takes less than a minute to download the voice files. You can also get guidance from Colonel Sanders.

Native Ads in Contacts

Beside getting advertisers’ voices in your ears, Waze is working on getting brands into your contacts, calendar and notifications. The ads are called “Favorite Brands”

Waze is working on ways to get advertising into your route and life. Waze is beta testing a feature where  users “favorite” certain brands, which then show on the map, Calendar Sync and even Speed Limits. Dunkin’ Donuts native ads will be the first show up with this features.

Advertisers already are showing pins on the Waze maps.

Advertisers want to get into the mapping and locating features to reach drivers while they are making decisions.

In a Waze blog post, the company notes An Opera Mediaworks and comScore study found that native ads can drive mobile brand recall at 2x the control. Native ads that showcase your brand name, products, or visuals may help increase awareness with audiences: something that’s hard to do in today’s sea of content. Positive brand-related ROI is a sign to stay the course.

Waze Carpooling = Uber Lyft Competition?

Waze is also getting into the carpool act in the Bay Area.

The Waze Carpool trial has been gradually opening to new users and is currently available to commuters in the greater San Francisco Bay Area who wish to be a part of the pilot. This includes drivers who can register via the original Waze app, and riders who can request a ride via the separate Waze rider app.

The app is carpooling only, drivers can only do two rides a day, which preventing them from making a living as a driver for the  Waze Rider app. The price for the rides can be much cheaper than Uber of Lyft at 54 cents a mile, Google doesn’t take a cut. 54 cents a mile is approximately the cost of operating a car and the rate the U.S. government allows for tax deductions. At that price the driver is not making money off of the ride.

There is no vetting of drivers, the carpool systems relies on user reviews for determining the safety and rating of drivers.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Waze plans to launch full ride hailing capabilities, like those in Israel, eventually. In Israel, Waze tested carpooling and then launched it fully within a year.

We were wondering if Waze would as part of the promotion offer carpool rides from Madea.

We fade in on on Madea with anxious passengers in the carpool (HOV) lane.

“Honey, hold on your seat, Madea is driving!” says Madea, “Now don’t you go talking ’bout me like that while I’m driving. I only get 54 cents a mile to put up with you.”

She won’t stop for lunch she’ll say “Ain’t no body said nothin bout no lunrch, I don’t want no lurnch.”

She won’t get you to church on time, unless you tell her correctly, “I’m going by the church, I didn’t say I was going to Church, I said by the church.