Driving app Waze turns the highway into a Pac-Man game with 'Road Goodies'

Mobile driving application Waze is adding a little extra incentive for users to help build out its crowdsourced maps. It already offers users points for “munching” up the road — i.e., driving around with Waze and validating the app’s directions. The latest version adds “road goodies,” special spots on the map that you get extra points for driving over.

Those goodies (hammers, cherries, and presents) are placed on Waze maps wherever the company has identified problems. When you drive over those spots with Waze activated, it uses GPS data from your phone to correct the map. As a bonus, Waze’s maps start looking more and more like the Pac-Man video game.

The company, based in Israel and Palo Alto, Calif., is kicking off the new game with a contest that will last until Nov. 30. At the end of that time, the users with the three highest scores will win Amazon gift cards worth up to $500.

Waze launched in the United States in May and added turn-by-turn directions at the DEMOfall conference. It’s now available on the Android and iPhone as a downloadable application, as well as on Windows Mobile and Symbian phones through its mobile websites. The company declined to share its user numbers.

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