Officially launching in Los Angeles today is a location-based social app that could actually work for this sprawly city. Waze is a smart phone app that gathers traffic data from its users via GPS and gives drivers incentives for taking less-traveled routes and filling in information gaps. The New York Times explained a few weeks ago: "[Waze] shows users cartoon 'road goodies,' such as Valentine hearts on a road map. Driving over the icon gives the driver points. Points are redeemable for prizes and bragging rights. Waze also shows cartoon blackberries (berries, not smartphones) along less traveled streets. Whoever drives over the most blackberries wins an iPad." The app also ranks users and has a leader board, so you can try to out-drive your fellow commuters if you're feeling more competitive and less like you want to get home and change into sweats.
· Waze Los Angeles [NYT]