October 28, 2009 | by Andrew Kameka
Google Maps with turn-by-turn voice navigation is coming to Android devices. The most requested feature for Google Maps was confirmed through the announcement of Google Maps Navigation, a beta application ONLY for Android 2.0 devices. G1, Magic, Hero, Galaxy, etc. will have to wait for the time being.
Google Maps Navigation will be a free application that doesn’t include advertisements (for now at least) and comes with a nice range of features, which include:
Non-address Search – Ever wanted to get somewhere but didn’t know the exact address? GMN can find it for you if you search for business name, landmark, or something like “The museum with the Egypt display”
Voice search – Speak your destination into GMN as “Navigate to Times Square” and it will bring up directions. (English-language only)
Cloud maps – Maps are stored in the cloud rather than the phone, so they are always the most recent, up-to-date maps Google has available. A driver’s current route is cached onto the phone so it is still available if data connection is lost.
Traffic view – Using live traffic data (probably the crowdsourced information we covered previously) and data from transportation agencies, users get an update on traffic information.
Search along route – Find points of interests based on business name or type. Layers of gas stations and restaurants available.
Satellite view – High-resolution, 3D view of your route just as you find on the desktop
Street view – Double-tap map to see Street View, which is obviously good for landmark/business recognition when trying to find an address.
If you’ll allow me to speculate, I have to guess that aside from being 2.0 only for now, it may also be something only U.S. residents are able to use at the moment. Again that’s just MY PERSONAL assumption. Voice search is English only, and remember that Google recently changed from TeleAtlas-licensed maps to their own Google-sourced map data in the U.S. while they continue to use TeleAtlas in Canada, Europe, and other locales. It wouldn’t surprise me if that plays a role in how GMN becomes available, so keep an eye out for that.