Google Maps Navigation Reviewed by GPS Blogger

We’re huge fans of the built-in Google Maps Navigation that comes with Android 1.6 and later.  The free GPS service has come along and found itself replacing applications and services from bigger, more established players.  Naturally, we tend to show a little bias around here being that we’re all Android lovey-dovey.  How does the service stack up in the eyes of GPS bloggers though?  We were interested to read the perspective of a writer for a site called GPSTrackLog and find out how they view Google Maps Navigation.

One of the biggest features in Google’s service is that the navigation is tied to the cloud.  This means that the data should be always updated, constantly changing and improving.  Does that help?  We’ll save the meat and potatoes for the full review, but here’s some of the takeaway.  Rich Owings, the writer says it’s “Promising, but not ready for prime time. Google has a great start here, but it still needs a lot of work.”

Thanks Rich!

About author

Scott Webster
Scott Webster 6602 posts

Scott has been running AndroidGuys since 2007 and loves nothing more than reading up on the latest smartphone rumors. His other mobile efforts can be found on Android Update (CNET) where he covers Google's mobile platform.

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  1. enjoijams
    January 20, 04:47 Reply

    "Not ready for primetime"???
    Really? Ive been using it alot since it was first released.
    I've had 3 different dedicated GPS units that I researched for weeks before buying.
    None of them could stand a chance against Google's Navigation in 3 different very crucial areas.

    1) Aquiring Location
    -Dedicated GPS units took between 1-5min to pull up my location.
    When they finally found me, they said I was 3 blocks up the street.
    -Google Nav (on G1) took less than 15sec. to find my location, In street view it had a dot over my car in front of my garage!

    -Dedicated GPS units took between 30sec.-2min to reroute. That's alot of time when your passing 3 and 4 streets before you get a reroute.
    -Google Nav (on G1) takes less than 10 sec. to reroute.

    3)Updated Maps and Points of interest.
    -Dedicated GPS units are limited to whats on the SD card. Points of interest are often slim, and very often I would find the POI's to be no longer there. Maps are also limited to the last time you downloaded updates.
    -Google Nav (on G1) POI's are limited to whatever is on the WWW! You are always using latest Google Maps. Plus you can use the Nav app in satelite view so you can see an aerial view of where you are. Layers are also available so you can overlay the map with different layers via Google. Street View is also available so you can look around on ground level to verify you are in the right place and what your destination looks like.

    • RemKay
      January 20, 10:53 Reply

      Enjoijams is right in everything he wrote except on one critical point….I have always found that the route chosen by Google Maps is NOT the best when compared with my "Regular" GPS device…not even close!

      • DMAGIC448
        January 20, 12:55 Reply

        @ RemKay – True, it does sometimes take on a weird path but when you have no idea how to get where your going, who cares how you get there, just get me there. The one thing I've noticed is that it doesnt seem to take regaurd for "dead end" streets. It will try to take to them from the dead end side of street anyway but thanks to the Re-routing feature if you just drive passed it it will take you down an an ajacent block. Google Maps FTW!!

  2. nazabiker
    January 22, 11:23 Reply

    I like Google Nav, even it's still beta. The only problem is it's advantage: the cloud. Offline maps doesn't charge data roaming. Maybe in USA roaming is not a problem but here in EU if I would like to go to a small trip to a neighbour country it would REALLY cost and arm and a leg to get there with google nav. So I'm still waiting for iGo, but for domestic trips it's really helpful.

  3. eYe
    January 22, 12:35 Reply

    While I’m pretty much with the author of review on the subject of “not ready for prime time” I would like to point out few things:

    1. It’s in beta, states so right when you start the app. And, as with any electronic device, one has to use common sense: you can just blame GPS for taking you the wrong way on one-way stree, look at the signs.
    2. Value per dollar paid: you absolutely not loosing anything with free navigation.
    3. Beauty is in the eyes of beholder: I actually prefer Google’s navigation to my wife’s TomTom.

    Now, regarding the cons:

    No nighttime view, which makes the app glaring and unsafe to use at night : Most phones will come with ambient light sensor in the near feature so this will not be a problem. As of right now, 1.6 hardware has “Powertop” widget which let’s choose between 3 settings (10%, 50% 100% brighness). Yes, it takes couple of clicks but so will stand-alone GPS unit.

    No options to save favorite destinations or view recent destinations: Not right of the bet but there’s an app in the market called “Nav Launcher” which does all of those things and then some. Not as elegant as CarHome but does the job and does it flawlessly.

    Loses satellite lock easier than a PND: this sounds more like hardware problem then app itself, doesn’t it?

    Everything else is right on the money.

    Thank you for the thorough review.

  4. niniii0
    June 07, 03:48 Reply

    I have always found that the route chosen by Google Maps is NOT the best when compared with my "Regular" GPS device…not even close!

  5. Katrina
    October 13, 01:07 Reply

    Well, I love Google Maps because of its usefulness, but if I will be viewing the map on that small screen, I am sure that it will be a piece of hell. Id rather have my laptop with me and have the maps loaded there.

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