The next logical step in the development of Google Maps has been accomplished with the launch of Google Maps Navigation. In the past services like Google Latitude and voice search possibilities were already added, but now it’s time for the big one: turn-to-turn navigation.
A free navigation system from Google that makes use of the smart engine behind Google Maps which runs on every Android 2.0 phone. You can give a voice search for a business in a certain place and the app will deliver the right address and the complete navigation from here to there.
Not just the standard map layout that you’re used to with all the normal kind of navigation systems, but now also satellite view for better visual reference where you are and where you’re going too. Different points of interests near the route can be displayed as well. Your favorite addresses can be stored as separate icons on the home screen including a small cache of the route, in case that you reach a bad spot for internet connectivity.
As you can see in the video below there will be hardware support for car kits, so that as soon as you click the Android device in the car kit, the default Android screen will change into a screen with big icons and voice search options. Ideal for handling the device at an arm’s length away.
The fact that the application is free will mean that some existing navigation companies have to start thinking about how to make their business plans valuable again. Companies like TomTom, Copilot and Mapquest deliver good software, but this free app from Google offers a better navigation solution for free!
The thing I’m missing is the fact that if I’m traveling through Europe with my car, I would still need to use a locally installed Android navigation solution like Copilot, who delivers the Europe map on a 1 gigabyte SD card. Europe roaming costs are sky high and using your data connection while traveling abroad is very expensive (2 euro per MB).
All in all, this application is what we’ve been waiting for. All the possibilities together with live traffic information and street view gives a very good navigation solution. Now I only need an Android 2.0 phone.
[youtube width=”600″ height=”360″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHrA3hn7lnw[/youtube]