The audio content pipe into the vehicle dashboard has grown in recent years and one of the growing players for in-car distribution is Waze, the community-based navigation app owned by Google. It has just announced another deal with an audio company, this time it’s the podcast platform Castbox. The integration gives drivers an easy way to listen to podcasts on Castbox while remaining on the Waze app as they navigate to their destination, eliminating the need to jump between the two apps. “Our integration with Waze lets us keep our listeners continuously engaged in their favorite shows while ensuring a safer, more enjoyable journey,” said Renee Wang, founder and CEO of Castbox.
In-vehicle listening is already a major location for podcast consumption according to Edison Research’s latest Infinite Dial report. It found nearly two-thirds of monthly podcast listeners have accessed a show while on the road. “The beauty of podcasts is that listeners can engage in other activities while fully immersing themselves in the content they love, which makes it the perfect medium for daily commutes and long drives,” said Wang.
In order for the integration to work, a user must have both the Castbox and Waze apps installed on their smartphone. Then when they’re on their commute they can simply tap on the audio icon in the Waze app and select Castbox from the list of supported apps. Once connected, users can access playback controls to pause, skip, or restart podcast episodes without ever leaving the Waze navigation screen. If a listener does opt to jump over to the Castbox app, they will still receive turn-by-turn traffic directions while accessing all of the app’s regular features and podcast libraries. Switching between the two apps takes only a tap.
“Our partnership with Castbox expands on our mission to strengthen the Waze ecosystem by integrating with apps and services that complement and enhance the driver experience,” said Adam Fried, Head of Global Partnerships at Waze. “We're pleased to be working with Castbox to give our users more ways to enjoy their favorite audio content while they’re on the road.”
Waze began integrating audio into its app last fall when it announced the Waze Audio Player had aligned with seven partners including iHeartRadio, Pandora, TuneIn, NPR, Stitcher, Deezer and Scribd. Then in April Entercom’s Radio.com said it too had a similar integration.
“Navigation and audio go together like peanut butter and jelly,” Fried told the NAB Show earlier this year. “We know that people love listening to their favorite content, like podcasts, music, radio, sports and news, while driving.” Because Waze is designed to be hyper-local for the user, it’s able to offer personalized audio suggestions. For instance, if someone navigates a long trip the app could suggest a longer podcast than if someone is making a shorter drive. But don’t expect Waze to get into the content business itself. Fried told the Las Vegas conference the company is “taking a collaborative approach” with its partners. “Audio is not our expertise,” he said.