Google Navigation Reviewed, Good for free but far from perfect

Google Nav review
Gizmodo posted a review of Google’s newly announced Navigation feaures included in Android 2.0. Google’s so called “game changing” free nav software has been taken on a ride for some testing in the streets of NY. The stand-out feature IMO is the nearly flawless integration of Voice command search in the application. It’s Kind-of fascinating to see Google pull this off so nicely when Microsoft has had this feature buried into Windows Mobile since November 2003 (You know that little thing called Microsoft Voice Command) but, in true MS fashion, never talked about it and as usual only a few OEMs took the time to bundle it with their devices. Bing for Mobile also feature Voice Commend since 2008 too, but nobody cares about it. Microsoft’s TellMe app is one a whole other level better but is only officially available on one phone! Anyway Google should really get credit for making this feature perfectly integrated into their OS.

The surprise hit of Google’s new software is the voice command. I said “Navigate to Cloud City” and it quickly launched the navigator, showing me a few options with “Cloud City” in the name. On top was my wife’s favorite coffee shop (home of my favorite BBQ pulled-pork sandwich). I tapped it and got on my way. I have done this with street addresses, store names and categories like simply “barbecue” and it’s worked fine. It’s only when I tried text searching that things got iffy.

According to the Giz the UI is the what disappoints but overall they foud it really impressive.

+ Amazing voice recognition engine

+ Live traffic and alternate route planner

+ Text-to-speech

+ Good routing and fast re-routing

= Satellite view and other views not always useful

- Text search features are overlapping, confusing

- Interface overall needs better flow

- No POI category browsing or “go home” feature

- No multi-stop trip planner

Source: Gizmodo

Google ads free turn-by-turn navigation in Android 2.0 Maps

Android 2 GPS
Big news here; Google just announced the the newest version of Google Maps included in Android 2.0 will now feature free turn-by-turn navigation, Telenav just got killed IMO. Now it’s not directly going against TomTom & Garmin etc because of the fact that Google Maps is a “Streaming” service unlike the standard GPS Nav apps where the maps are locally stored on your device (so you don’t need an active data connection to use them). But this fairly big news nonetheless. There’s still no multi-touch support though so it will be up to the OEMs to add it (like HTC did on the Hero). The new app will be available on all Android 2.0 devices from now on (the first being the Motorola Droid).

Today we’re excited to announce the next step for Google Maps for mobile: Google Maps Navigation (Beta) for Android 2.0 devices.

This new feature comes with everything you’d expect to find in a GPS navigation system, like 3D views, turn-by-turn voice guidance and automatic rerouting. But unlike most navigation systems, Google Maps Navigation was built from the ground up to take advantage of your phone’s Internet connection.

Here are seven features that are possible because Google Maps Navigation is connected to the Internet:

The most recent map and business data
When you use Google Maps Navigation, your phone automatically gets the most up-to-date maps and business listings from Google Maps — you never need to buy map upgrades or update your device. And this data is continuously improving, thanks to users who report maps issues and businesses who activate their listings with Google Local Business Center.

Search in plain English
Google Maps Navigation brings the speed, power and simplicity of Google search to your car. If you don’t know the address you’re looking for, don’t worry. Simply enter the name of a business, a landmark or just about anything into the search box, and Google will find it for you. Then press “Navigate”, and you’re on your way.

Search by voice
Typing on a phone can be difficult, especially in the car, so with Google Maps Navigation, you can say your destination instead. Hold down the search button to activate voice search, then tell your phone what you want to do (like “Navigate to Pike Place in Seattle”), and navigation will start automatically.

Traffic view
Google Maps Navigation gets live traffic data over the Internet. A traffic indicator light in the corner of the screen glows green, yellow or red, depending on the current traffic conditions along your route. If there’s a jam ahead of you, you’ll know. To get more details, tap the light to zoom out to an aerial view showing traffic speeds and incidents ahead. And if the traffic doesn’t look good, you can choose an alternate route.

Search along route
For those times when you’re already on the road and need to find a business, Google Maps Navigation searches along your route to give you results that won’t take you far from your path. You can search for a specific business by name or by type, or you can turn on popular layers, such as gas stations, restaurants or parking.

Satellite view
Google Maps Navigation uses the same satellite imagery as Google Maps on the desktop to help you get to your destination. Turn on the satellite layer for a high-resolution, 3D view of your upcoming route. Besides looking cool, satellite view can help you make sense of complicated maneuvers.

Street View
If you want to know what your next turn looks like, double-tap the map to zoom into Street View, which shows the turn as you’ll see it, with your route overlaid. And since locating an address can sometimes be tricky, we’ll show you a picture of your destination as you approach the end of your route, so you’ll know exactly what to look for.

Source: Google