I noticed something interesting about Waze the other day, which confirmed some suspicions I had for a few weeks.

For some time, visitors keep getting lost getting to my house, which sits on a cul de sac near the Los Angeles coastline. On more than one occasion, people got lost when using the Waze app, which is supposedly the best crowdsourced navigation around. The app would direct them down deadend streets, blocks away from my home. As it turns out, this may be my fault (not really, but really)…

I witnessed this phenomenon first hand the other night returning from a wedding at the Aquarium of the Pacific. It was about midnight that I noticed my Uber driver turning down a deadend street near my home. When I asked where the driver was going, the directions stated, in 450 feet, make a left on unnamed street. He proceeded to miss the turn.


This is the route I usually take, but I was surprised that Waze would recommend this to an Uber driver. The road is unnamed because it’s not a road, but the back alley of my townhome’s complex. The back alley connects two streets by about a 1/4 mile stretch marked with speed bumps and blindspots.

My suspicion is that because I take this route so frequently and Waze tracks me so closely, Waze thinks that this is now the optimal route. Problem is that it’s only optimal if you know about the alley, not if you miss the turn. Go figure…

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