“Don’t Waze and Drive” – Try THAT in São Paulo!


Can you name an app service that is used by virtually everyone who has a smartphone in Australia or even Melbourne?

I can’t. Probably the closest would be Facebook and even then I know plenty of people with smartphones who refuse to partake in any form of social media.

Sure virtually every teenager in Australia (it seems) is using Instagram and/or Snapchat as their communication and social acceptance tool but how many over 40-odds that you know use Snapchat on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis?

For me the smartphone is great for bringing phone, messaging (iMessage is the choice mode), email and access to news and social tools but I can’t name an app that isn’t a core part of the smartphone that I rely on on a daily basis.
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Then we look at Brazil and in particular São Paulo where I have spent a lot of time over the past few years and I have not been in a private car, taxi or Uber where the driver hasn’t been using Waze for directions.

Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app which enables you to join other drivers in your area who share real-time traffic and road info, saving everyone time and money on their daily commute.

In a city like São Paulo it is absolutely vital and could be the difference between a 20 minute trip to an hour trip, every day!
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Waze is useful in Melbourne but not a necessity. I use it (when I remember) to see how long it is going take me to get him from work. Sometimes if it gives me bad news I stay a little longer until it clears a bit. It is very accurate even though not widely used in Australia.

The other app that is used by virtually everyone in Brazil, Chile and Mexico (the three countries I have spent most of the time in that part of the world) is WhatsApp.

WhatsApp is used for personal and business by all ages; it is amazing that an independent app can be the default phone and messaging application by hundreds of millions of people.

It makes sense though as WhatsApp is available on iPhone and Android whereas iMessage isn’t and SMS isn’t consumed in your data charge.
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It is also equally amazing to my friends in Brazil when I say I don’t use Whatsapp with my Australian friends. “But how do you communicate?”, they would ask.

Similar response to the news that we don’t rely on Waze. “That’s crazy, I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere without Waze”, they say.

Sure we are tech savvy in Australia and the younger generation coming through are more and more living their lives through their phones but I am yet to see the reliance by virtually all ages on a Waze or WhatsApp in Australia like it is in Latin America.

Then again I just have to think how my boys used their phones to know that it isn’t far away or maybe it is here and I just don’t know it.

They would argue they can’t live without Snapchat today but that’s another matter.


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