Waze could tempt you from Google Maps with these super-useful driving alerts

Waze will receive a nice quality-of-life update that’ll help you drive around more safely as well as let you know of any recent changes to the road.

The patch is slated to be released on Android and iOS devices across the globe, but the rollout won’t happen all at once. Instead, the six features will come out in pieces throughout the coming months. It’s a little complicated, but once you break the announcement down, it all makes sense.

When it comes to safety, the app will notify you in advance of any emergency vehicles on your route. That way you’ll know when to shift lanes or take a detour. This tool is currently making its way to users living in the US, Canada, Mexico, and France, with, Waze promises, more countries coming soon.

Waze's new speed limit and emergency vehicle alerts

(Image credit: Waze/Google)

Our favorite update out of the bunch has to be Waze deciding it'll shout out upcoming changes to speed limits in case they’re about to suddenly decrease. It's a pretty helpful tool whenever you want to avoid getting caught in a speed trap. Third, the developers are expanding hazard detection to include speed bumps, sharp turns, and toll booths. The speed limit warnings as well as the hazard detection upgrade are currently rolling out to all users. 

This next set of features is scheduled to launch down the line.

Normally, whenever someone opens a navigation app, it’s because they want to get to their destination ASAP. Well, later this month, you’ll be given the option to take more scenic routes. They may not be the fastest way to get home, but at least, you'll have the opportunity to take your favored path instead.

Most drivers can agree that finding a place to park in a city can be an utter nightmare. To make finding the sweet spot less stressful, Waze is teaming up with software company Flash to provide information on parking garages. The app will tell you how much it costs to park at a location, whether it’s covered or open to the elements, if there’s a valet, and more. 

The announcement states the new data feed is seeing a limited release. It will provide info on a select group of 30,000 parking garages across major cities in the United States and Canada.

Waze's new parking garage feed and alternative routes tool

(Image credit: Google/Waze)

The last feature will teach people how to navigate a roundabout. Waze states they’ll point out when to enter, when to switch lanes, and “where to exit”. Android users will receive the roundabout tool later this month, however, iPhone owners will have to wait until later in the year to get the same upgrade.

We reached out to Google, which is Waze’s parent company, asking if there are plans for future expansions and if it’s going to add the same features to the app’s web page. This story will be updated at a later time.

Waze's latest patch looks like it'll keep a lot of people safe, but accidents happen all the time. To keep your insurance rates from skyrocketing, check out TechRadar's list of the best dash cams for 2024. You never know when you'll need one.

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Google Bard just got a super-useful Google Lens boost – here’s how to use it

Google Bard is getting update after update as of late, with the newest one being the incorporation of Google Lens – which will allow users to upload images alongside prompts to give Bard additional context.

Google seems to be making quite a point of expanding Bard’s capabilities and giving the chatbot a serious push into the artificial intelligence arena, either by integrating it into other Google products and services or simply improving the standalone chatbot itself.

This latest integration brings Google Lens into the picture, allowing you to upload images to part, identify objects and scenes, provide image descriptions, and search the web for pictures of what you might be looking for.

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Screenshot of Bard

(Image credit: Future)
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Asking Google Bard to show me a kitten

(Image credit: Future)

For example, I asked Bard to show me a photo of a kitten using a scratching post, and it pulled up a photo (accurately cited!) of exactly what I asked for, with a little bit of extra information on why and how cats use scratching posts. I also showed Bard a photo from my phone gallery, and it accurately described the scene and some tidbits of interesting information about rainbows.

Depending on what you ask Bard to do with the image provided, Bard can provide a variety of helpful responses. Since the AI-powered chatbot is mostly a conversational tool, adding as much context as you possibly can will consistently get you the best results, and you can refine its responses with additional prompts as needed. 

If you want to give Bard's new capabilities a try, just head over to the chatbot, click the little icon on the left side of the text box where you would normally type out your prompt, and add any photo you desire to your conversation. 

Including the image update, you can now pin conversation threads, get Bard to read responses out loud in over 40 languages, and get access to easier sharing methods. You can check out the Bard update page for a more detailed explanation of all the new additions.

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