Navigation App Waze Drives Past 5 Million Users; Adds Text-To-Speech Voice Guidance

Social mapping and navigation company Waze has hit a big milestone today. The company has accumulated 3 million users in the past 7 months, with 5 million users in over 45 countries. It took just two months for Waze to rack up its last million users.

Founded in 2009, Waze offers free apps for the iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 7, BlackBerry and other mobile platforms, that include turn-by-turn navigation for drivers, and at the same time, uses that user data to build out its own maps. If there are issues on the road, such as major traffic jams, all of that information comes in through the apps and can be sent to other drivers.

The company is announcing a new iteration of its iPhone and Android app that includes text-to-speech voice guidance (using technology from Nuance), to allows drivers to receive voice alerts upon approaching potentially dangerous events on the road, as well as voice-based street, exit and highway names.

Waze is also adding a commuting widget to its Android app will tell users whether it’s a good time to leave or not, with red indicating heavy traffic, and green indicating that traffic is clear.

As we’ve written in the past, Waze faces competition from Google with respect to Android device navigation functionality, but the startup brings this technology to a number of mobile platforms and has landed impressive partnerships. And clearly Waze, which just raised $25 million in funding, is growing fast in terms of usage.