(Credit: Lance Whitney)

You're driving your car as Waze guides you on your trip with the usual turn-by-turn directions. And now you feel like riding along hearing a song (side by side). In the past, you'd have to fire up a dedicated audio app to listen to your favorite tunes. Now, Waze is offering a simpler, safer, and more integrated approach.

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Waze has added its own audio player through which you can access other streaming apps and services, the company said in a blog post updated on November 19. Depending on whether you use an iOS or Android device, you'll be able to listen to music, podcasts, audiobooks, radio, and news items from a range of providers.

Waze users on Android can tap into the sounds of Pandora, iHeartRadio, NPR One, Scribd, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn. Waze's audio player for iOS is presently more limited, offering access to just iHeartRadio, Scribd, Spotify, and Stitcher. But Waze promised that all services, including Deezer, will be rolling out to both mobile platforms through the end of the year.

With all the technology at our fingertips, especially in our cars, drivers today face a variety of distractions that can easily lead to accidents. Bouncing between different apps on your mobile phone is one such distraction that can take your eyes and mind off the road. By integrating an audio player directly into its app, Waze can serve up directions and your favorite sounds at the same time, reducing your need to juggle multiple apps.

To take advantage of the different audio services, you'll need the respective app for each one. Yes, that means downloading the apps for Spotify, Pandora, NPR One, and the rest. If you don't already have those apps, the settings screen for Waze's audio player lists each one with an option to install those you want to use. Also, make sure you've already opened and signed into each app that you'll want to play from Waze.

Before you take to the road, grab the latest version of Waze and the latest versions of the audio apps, if you don't already have them. Open Waze. Tap the audio icon on the home screen. To control the available apps, tap the link for Settings. Here, you can install, add, or remove services. Tap the X in the Audio Player screen to return home.

(Credit: Lance Whitney)

Now, you're behind the wheel taking directions from Waze and want to listen to some music or a podcast. Tap the audio icon on the home screen and tap the service you want to play. Accept the connection. The audio player should pop up with either your last station or playlist or a random feed. From the player, you can play, pause, forward, and perform other actions based on the service. To access other stations or content from the service, tap the link to Show list. To access other services, tap the link for Audio apps and select the service you want to play.

(Credit: Lance Whitney)

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  1. Waze has rolled out an integrated music player through which you can access such services as Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and NPR One.
  2. Without leaving Waze, you can listen to music, podcasts, audiobooks, radio, and news streamed from the third-party apps.

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Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books - "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time" and "Teach Yourself VISUALLY LinkedIn."