I first used a navigation based software more than 2 years back. It was the voice based navigation system NAVTEQ on the Nokia E90 communicator. The maps were still evolving and the ancillary services have come a long way since.
Google today announced upgraded maps and navigation for mobile: Google Maps Navigation (Beta) for Android 2.0 devices. It features 3D views, turn-by-turn voice guidance and automatic rerouting. The enhanced Google maps features the following upgrades:
- Google Maps Navigation, automatically updates maps and business listings from Google Maps eliminating the need to buy maps or update the software.
- Search function is enabled on the software (Like Google on the internet)
- Search by voice is a very potent feature which takes makes the work of typing inputs light and this is one of the biggest advantages of the Google Maps Navigation.
- Live traffic view is another killer feature in the Google Maps Navigation. A Traffic indicator light in the corner of the screen glows green, yellow or red, depending on the current traffic conditions along the route. For all those hassled by long traffic stoppage times, this feature is a HUGE utility.
- Google Maps Navigation searches along the route to give ancillary points of interest e.g restaurants, gas stations etc.
- Google Maps Navigation uses the same satellite imagery as Google Maps on the desktop….
- …and yet can zoom into the next turn looks like. Double-tapping the map to zoom into Street View, shows the turn as one would see it, with the route overlaid.
Google Maps Will Now Show You Traffic Conditions on Back Roads
Google Maps added another nifty feature that will show live traffic conditions on arterial roads (non-highway roads) in selected cities. Google Maps will also show traffic patterns on main highways as well, helping see the least-trafficked route is for commute between two points.
To enable this feature, the user needs to zoom-in on the city and click the “Traffic” button in the upper-right corner of the map. This will give the traffic conditions of both arterial roads and highways. The colors correspond to the speed of traffic green is little to no traffic, yellow is medium congestion, red is heavy congestion, and red/black is stop-and-go traffic.
Google says that this feature can also be accessed on Google Maps for Mobile, which is particularly useful when trying to figure out the best route on the go. Google also shed a little bit of light as to how they crowdsource traffic info via Google Maps on mobile phones. On enabling Google Maps with My Location, the phone sends anonymous bits of data back to Google describing how fast the user is moving. When Google combines travelling speed with the speed of other phones on the road, across thousands of phones moving around a city at any given time, they can get an idea of traffic live conditions. They continuously combine this data and send it back to you for free in the Google Maps traffic layers.
Google assures users that they only use anonymous speed and location information to calculate traffic conditions, and only do so when the user has opted to enable location services on his or her phone.