Waze crowd-sourced traffic monitoring comes to Windows Phone

Real-time crowd-based navigation, traffic monitoring, weather conditions, and incident reporting has come to Windows Phone in the person of Waze. The Google-owned app showed up in the Windows Phone Store today. This rounds out Waze's device support for all of the major mobile operating systems.

The Waze app is free of charge. Install it on your phone and leave it running with GPS enabled to feed real-time traffic and road data to the Waze community, which numbers 60 million members. In return for your contribution, you'll get access to the sum total of all local Waze-contributed data so you can get from point A to point B faster and with less unpleasant excitement.

Navigation is just the beginning. The app will tell you if there's a traffic jam, road closure, or any inclement weather conditions affecting the road. It'll automatically adjust your route for you if anything pops up that would slow you down. It automatically learns your frequent routes for quick access. You can have it send your rendez-vouz point a message indicating how far away you are, with a link that lets the other party track your progress on a map. You might even find cheaper gas via community-contributed data, or be able to avoid a police speed trap coming up ahead.

The community-based system is based on experience points. As you contribute data and help other drivers with your information, your ranking moves up and your voice carries more weight (plus you'll get more access to indicating "moods" as shown above.) This all helps keep all the data reliable.

With the Windows Phone app, Waze just got that much more useful as more drivers join the data network. Just be careful about leaving it on and unplugged for too long if you don't absolutely need it. GPS sucks your battery like there's no tomorrow.