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Waze isn’t just a navigation app, it’s now an audio player

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Last year, Waze successfully integrated Spotify directly into its navigation app. Now, the company is building a more full-featured audio player.

The Waze Audio Player is launching for beta-testers Monday and rolls out more widely to all Waze users on Nov. 14. The feature allows drivers to listen to and browse music, audiobooks, radio, and podcasts without ever leaving the popular traffic app.

Upon its initial release, the Waze Audio Player will support eight different audio services: Pandora, Deezer, iHeartRadio, NPR, Scribd, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Spotify.

Here's how you play music or podcasts in Waze.

Adam Fried, head of global partnerships at Waze, gave Mashable an early preview of the audio player and showed off how it seamlessly pulls in Spotify playlists or Pandora’s thumbs-up (or down) ratings. To launch the player, users will simply click the big pink “audio” button on the app’s main screen.

The best thing about the Waze Audio Player is that it makes it easier to follow traffic directions while fiddling with audio. Even if you switch over to, say, the Spotify app, Waze keeps a small panel at the top of the screen that shows you the next direction — so you never lose track of where you’re driving.

Following the update, Waze directions will appear at the top of most popular music apps while engaged in navigation mode.

Following the update, Waze directions will appear at the top of most popular music apps while engaged in navigation mode.

The player will launch with the eight previously mentioned audio-streaming services, but more will likely be added over time, thanks to the new Waze Audio Kit for developers. This will make it easier for streaming services to integrate with the player.

If this announcement sounds eerily familiar that’s because it is. Google Maps, operated by Waze’s parent company Alphabet, recently brought music-streaming integration into its app earlier this year. 

For those using Waze on CarPlay or Android Auto, the new player won’t work through that, but Fried said it hopefully will soon.

You can sign up for the Waze Beta Community to start using the new player while slogging through your morning commute. Or wait a few weeks until the public release. 

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