I use Waze and have used it for years instead of or alongside Google Maps. I can shed some light on some questions posed by others here.
- The reason Waze requests background running is both for mapping and traffic monitoring contributions to the cloud. It truly is the "Social GPS" and every single person helps.
- Color coded lines come into play when traffic is picked up by outside monitors or confirmed by others via social speed. You'll see color coding mainly on highways or main drags. Traffic bubbles are when individuals report traffic, but they can be for any number of reasons. Could be a genuine jam or a slowdown because of an out of sight road block (ie: someone stuck because roadwork is squeezing everyone into one lane). However if more people encounter it, it may eventually change colors.
- Waze updates daily (Waze - Official Blog: Map Updates Now Daily -- Worldwide!
). They announce when both US and Intl maps are updated on their social networks. Prior to this they were ~weekly. They never waited a whole year
- Social Networks are optional (currently FB and Twitter), and more than likely will remain that way since Waze has had their profiles in place since inception. If anything, G+ will become a third optional social connection. Google has said it has no plans to swallow Waze whole and will leave it as a separate entity (Google closes acquisition of Waze | Android Central
- If you aren't aware, the search page has multiple network icons on the bottom including Bing, Contacts, Google, Facebook Places, Foursquare, Yahoo, Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Waze itself. I've rarely had a place not show up in at least one of these options, but YMMV.
- I admit, the webpage is lacking in the Icon Glossary, but they figure that the icon names shown when clicking Report in the app are mostly self explanatory when you see them on the map.
- Not sure if Chrome to Phone will pick it up, but Waze does register as a nav app when clicking on addresses (Contacts, Stock Browser, Chrome).
I use Waze for the usability, social fun, and promotions.
Usability: Learns your routes, optimizes them, and keeps you out of harm's (traffic's) way
Social Fun: If your friends are on Waze and everyone's headed somewhere in different cars, you can turn it into a race and watch everyone head for the finish. Just don't tell the cop you were trying to beat your friends at Waze if you get caught speeding.
If you're stuck in a traffic jam with a bunch of other Wazers, someone is more than likely going to start a local chat about it, lol. Sometimes you can make new friends, or learn something new about the area.
Promotions: Every once in a while, usually seasonal, the streets will be littered with promotional items (ie: candy corn for Halloween). Racking them up gives bonus points to your overall driving score and top earners for the promotion usually get real prizes, usually an electronics item for top earner while runner ups get Waze goodies. Currently, you can find sweepstakes entries for free Eminem tickets (Waze - Official Blog: Waze Your Way to Free Eminem Tickets
) while last month they gave away the song Berzerk.
If there's any other questions I can help ya with, feel free to ask. I more than likely know if it's something I've done, or can at least point you in the direction of an answer.