Waze tops in sharing app user satisfaction, study shows

Analysis of thousands of reviews shows that the Israeli-developed traffic application is most popular among users

Waze at work in Menlo Park, California (photo credit: AP/Paul Sakuma)
Waze at work in Menlo Park, California (photo credit: AP/Paul Sakuma)

Israeli-developed traffic application Waze is among the best “sharing” apps, according to a study by research group Arc360, a division of Israeli app testing firm Applause.

In the new report on how satisfied users are with apps that allow them to interact with others, Waze stood out as one of the most loved. It’s also the sharing app with the most reviews in the App Store or Google Play.

Applause operates a worldwide network of app testers who check the quality and performance of apps on just about every device they can operate on. To ensure that its testing is accurate, the company analyzes user opinions and reactions in the iOS App Store and Android app stores in the US, and as of last month, in France, Italy, Germany and Spain, the company said.

Using advanced algorithms, the Applause Analytics platform examines close to 20 million apps and 370 million app reviews in the iOS and Android app stores across eight countries.

This “sentiment analysis,” according to Roy Solomon, allows Applause to check on the veracity of the testing it does by correlating user satisfaction with test results.

Using that analysis, Arc360 has published what it says is the first analysis of the state of app quality in the US as rated by customers of the 48 most popular sharing economy brands by app store review count.

The apps were chosen out of some 9,000 “sharing economy” apps that are available for iPhone and Android devices.

With “sharing” apps, users give in order to get. They exchange information, products, assistance, rides, vacations, cars, and just about anything else. Some of the most popular sharing apps are Uber, which allows users to “hail” virtual taxi services from drivers who have extra time on their hands, and Airbnb, which provides a platform to enable travelers to rent space in places they visit from homeowners, instead of going to a hotel.

While most users do not leave reviews, according to the theory behind sentiment analysis, those that do are the ones that are most passionate – and are more likely to leave a negative review, if any, since people are more likely to express criticism than praise in reviews.

Based on this theory, then, it’s not surprising that many of the most popular sharing apps came up short. According to the report, Uber is the runaway leader in the sharing economy, garnering a score of 67 (out of a possible 100). Other popular but middling in approval apps include Zipcar (a sharing app for short-term car rentals), Airbnb, eBay, and Lyft (a ride-sharing app). All these apps had approval ratings of somewhere in the mid-60s.

Waze was the only popular app with many thousands of reviewers giving it a positive review. Although rated fifth overall, Waze’s review was based on over 300,000 user reviews – more than any other app on the list – while the top four apps had much smaller user bases and only a few hundred reviews each.

Waze was exceptional, according to the report, for being the most widely used app with the highest rating. Overall, just eight sharing economy apps earned quality scores of 70 or above with more than 1,000 user reviews.

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