Google has announced a beta release of Google Maps Navigation, an Internet-connected GPS navigation system that provides turn-by-turn voice guidance as a free feature of Google Maps on Android 2.0 phones.
Google Maps Navigation uses your phone's Internet connection to give you the latest maps and business data. You never need to buy map upgrades or manually update your device because you're always using the most recent data from Google Maps. And this data is continuously improving, thanks to users who report maps issues and local businesses on Google Local Business Center.
Google Maps Navigation was built from the ground up as an Internet-connected GPS system, making the following features possible:
- Search in plain English. No need to know the address. You can type a business name (e.g., "starbucks") or even a kind of a business (e.g., "thai restaurant"), just like you would on Google.
- Search by voice. Speak your destination instead of typing (English only): "Navigate to the de Young Museum in San Francisco".
- Traffic view. An on-screen indicator glows green, yellow, or red based on the current traffic conditions along your route. A single touch on the indicator toggles a traffic view that shows the traffic ahead.
- Search along route. Search for any kind of business along your route, or turn on popular layers such as gas stations, restaurants, or parking.
- Satellite view. View your route overlaid on 3D satellite views with Google's high-resolution aerial imagery.
- Street View. Visualize turns overlaid on Google's Street View imagery. Navigation automatically switches to Street View as you approach your destination.
- Car dock mode. For certain devices, placing your phone in a car dock activates a special mode that makes it easy to use your device at arm's length.