Android 2.0 Adds the Game Changer Known as Google Maps Navigation

google_maps_nav_007Google announced the next evolution of their Google Maps for mobile today and it’s a game-changer.  It’s called Google Maps Navigation it’s an internet-connected GPS navigation system with voice guidance.  And it comes standard with Android 2.0.  Sounds fancy huh?  It is.  The key is in the internet connection.  Oh and being free never hurts.

The Official Google Blog has posted seven key reasons as to why their Maps Navigation is better than other GPS alternatives.  We’ve taken the liberty of pulling out and paraphrasing the stuff you’ll enjoy the most.

  1. Most Recent Map and Business Data – Your phone automatically gets the most up-to-date maps and business listings from the cloud known as Google Maps.  You can forget spending money on map upgrades or device updates.
  2. Search in Plain English – Don’t know the address you’re looking for, it’s alright.  Just type in the name of a business, landmark or whatever and Google gets it for you. After that, you press “Navigate” and you’re set!
  3. Search by Voice – What’s better than typing in a destination?  Speaking, silly.  Hold down the search button within the app, tell your phone what you want to do (Navigate to Pike Place in Seattle), and the rest is done for you.
  4. Traffic ViewThe app is fed live traffic data using the device’s internet connection.  The corner of your screen shows an indicator light that changes based on the current traffic conditions along your route.
  5. Search Along Route – Search for a specific businesses by name or by type  when you’re already mid-trip. Even cooler is the ability to add layers on top for  gas stations, restaurants or parking.
  6. Satellite View – The same satellite technology that makes Google Maps so cool on your desktop is found in Google Maps Navigation.  The satellite layer offers a high-res, 3D view of your route.
  7. Street View – Already one of the coolest features in Google Maps and on your mobile device, you can see your next turn overlaid on top of the map. You can also use the app to get a picture of your destination before you get to the end of the route. This way, you know what color that house is you’re supposed to be delivering flowers to.

Here’s a decent length video that shows off just how cool Google Maps Navigation can be. Now if we can only get some phones with Android 2.0 on them… WAIT!

For those of you who are into the whole pictures scene, here’s a few!

  • David

    Is there any word on whether this downloads maps for your entire route to your phone, or if you have to maintain a data connection for the entire trip?

    • AndyH

      I've read that the maps get cached to the phone in some way.

    • JustAPhoneUser

      I really hope they have some kind of caching, but I an real excited about this feature!

  • AL7AIR

    @ David: Since they are talking about “a navigation solution up in the cloud” I don’t think you’ll be able to save the entire route on the device, like AndNav2 – also free – can do.

    @ Article: Sadly it’s USA only, so here is hoping that it makes it across the big pond to Europa and Asia later on. Probably by the time Google has more Street View data available over here, since the turn by turn info window seems to rely on it heavily.

    • I am a fan of Garmin and I wish they could release Garmin Mobile XT on Android. In many cases, you will not be able to use Google Nav:
      -Lost in the middle of nowhere with no signal or no edge/3g signal. I know that you could have some cache with Google but it is not the same has having the full map of a country ready on your device.
      -Abroad… Data roaming charges could cost a fortune so if you want to stroll/navigate in an unknown city, in a foreign country, it would be better to have all the maps saved on your device.

      So there is still a market for an Android Garmin app… if they can price it right!

  • dgw

    As of right now – Garmin's and TomTom's stock are down 15% and 21%, respectively…

    • I am a fan of Garmin and I wish they could release Garmin Mobile XT on Android.
      Google Nav. sounds great but there is many occasion when this is completely useless and will have to be replaced by an offline solution, like one from Garmin:
      -You are out of network range or even not in an edge or 3G area. Even if there is some caching, it might not be a full country or state?
      -When you are abroad and data roaming cost a fortune… you will better off with an offline solution.

      So yes, this is great news to get this nav apps from Google but there is still a market for offline solution.

  • Kevin

    This is awesome, say goodbye to big revenue for current gps tech solutions.

  • Sergey

    So how about the term in the license for their maps DATA that said "not to be used for navigation based on sensor" (or something similar)? Did they change their data source, or is it after all not a REAL navigation system, just like the present google maps for mobile?

  • asdf

    They indeed change their data source. Google is now using Google's own data.

  • ian mccully

    Goodbye to tom tom and the rest which all needs uodated maps bought online or on your phone this will be a thing of the past if this goes worldwide here is hoping


    keep smiling
    be Happy

    The gps manfacturers will be quaking in there boots

  • TareX

    Awesome, and EXTREMELY CAPABLE AND HIGH QUALITY for a free app…. Google has once again done it.

    But I hope Android Maps get Live Mode someday… you know, those "Enkin" guys who were snatched by Google 2 years ago…

  • George

    This is not an Android only "game changer" as you put it. Google has already stated it's coming in the next software update to Windows Mobile, iPhone and Palm Pre. Google would be crazy to ignore all those other segments. Google is about 1 thing – getting there products in as many hands as possible so they can offer advertising. You will see ads on Google Maps Navigation for sure in the future!