Free, crowd-sourced turn-by-turn app Waze might not navigate quite as well as the Navigons and Telenavs of the world, but it's got one killer feature that they don't: cherries, to chomp with your car.
The cherries (and various other icons) are part of Waze's new "Road Goodies" program, which essentially turns the navigation service—which has, by most counts, gotten a lot better over the past few months—into a simple point-gathering game. The point of these points? Well, the treasures are placed wherever there are gaps in Waze's map data:
For instance, if there's an area where we detect a disconnect in two streets on the map, we'll place a goodie over there in what we believe is the point of intersection. Then, when someone heads over to munch the 'goodie', it will solve the disconnect, telling the waze system that these two streets do indeed intersect.
The points don't get you anything outside of Waze, ahem, street cred, so this is basically just a big ploy by the company to extract free labor from their user base. Which is fine! Though I feel Waze should probably scatter a few di, for when people start driving into deadly ravines in the name of fake treasure.
The new version of Waze is live in the App Store and Android App Market right now. [iTunes]