Waze's Cookie Monster voice is the only thing keeping me sane right now

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/02/03/wazes-cookie-monster-voice-i.html


Except for that one bit of the Thruway where you gradually get higher and higher over the valley - that’s the one gorgeous bit of the whole trip.


Can you still get him? I’d love to download that somehow.

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Cookie is awesome, but I’ll also recommend the Boy Band voice. On a trip last week, the rental car place set it as our English voice, and my friend and I spent the first hour of the drive giggling at it like the people in this video did:


I just installed Waze and I didn’t see cookie monster as an option.

Now I’m bummed. Boy band may have to serve as an ersatz but amusing alternative.

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I can get Boy Band, but Cookie Monster isn’t there.

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Like that time it helped me shave off 20 minutes of rush hour traffic in Connecticut by taking me 30-miles off the route along an endlessly winding and unlit narrow road.

That sounds like two wins to me. My Garmin once took me off the interstate and through a winding steeply hilly road to shave about 10 miles off the trip. Man, that was awesome. Dark, twisty country roads and saving time and distance on the trip - yes please!


Same for me. Just ain’t there.:frowning:

Out of all the previous custom voices, I use this one all the time and I love it. The DJ Khaled was the worse. I think there was Sam L Jackson one a while back. I like the British female voice when I first used it.


as a Western Masshole I take offense to the sentiment of nothing nice to look at… you’re driving past some of our nicest industrial parks and highway interchanges.

though seriously… the Catskills and Berkshires are gorgeous, and at least in Mass it should be a nice drive between roughly the NY border and exit 3 in Westfield, then nice again for a little bit between Ludlow and Sturbridge.

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Opened my Waze for the first time in a while and I have Cookie Monster.

I have it set for English (US), if that matters. Cookie Monster does appear to be regionalized.

I love how she says “Roadworks on the road ahead.”

I think there are some significantly more… BoingBoing reasons so many people like the Cookie Monster voice here, in the sense that it’s exactly the kind of thing Douglas Rushkoff, recently declared a BB friend, has warned about (for those who haven’t read him, think considering the implications of commercial weaponization of McLuhan).

First and foremost, the recording ends every drive with a statement of collective action and affirmation- “we made it to destination, now that’s what I call great driving!” Even though we know it’s a system prompt, out brains are wired to respond positively to communications like that delivered at the conclusion of stressful tasks. The childlike voice also serves to bridge the uncanny valley, so anthropomorphizing (monsterpromorphizing?) is easier. Overall it’s calculated to strengthen your loyalty to a product and build affinity even when you know full well you’re being manipulated.

Years back the NY times did an article about this phenomenon with GPS devices generally, and a recent Radiolab episode discussed related issues w/r/t ELIZA and it’s progeny chat agents.

Nothing wrong with liking the voice template but be cautious and mindful regarding the motives behind its creation.


Honestly the Mass Pike part of the ride is delightful. Once you’re past Albany with 3 hours left to go, there’s nothing to look except more rolling hills. Which are lovely and serene for a moment, but it gets old quickly. It’s reached a point where I have my favorite Decaying Farmhouses and Barely Standing Farmhouses With Confederate Flags. It’s rough.


That’s an interesting assessment, and I don’t necessarily disagree. Maybe that is a big part of what I like about Cookie Monster — I feel like I’m less of a product that’s being coached. His syntax is fun and child-like, but it’s not quite as pedantic with the reward system criteria (or maybe it’s just easier to ignore when it is, because of the funny voice and other comments).

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that’s a fair assessment… there are quite a few decaying/barely standing farmhouses w/ confederate flags. but there’s also a lot more solar and wind power being installed too. right before exit 3 (eastbound) there’s a lovely solar field to the south that sits on top of the old Westfield dump.

also check out the section in Becket/Otis where your cross in and out of each town 2-3 times.

I was gonna get Waze after a trip to Chicago with Mr. T’s voice, which couldnt make me stop laughing, but then I heard they removed his voice, so I was no longer interested

I learned to ignore mine when it offers shortcuts after sundown, though. Dark, hilly roads look a bit less awesome and more like the driveway to hell at night.