Google have announced that the turn-by-turn navigation available in the US is coming to the UK and Ireland. Engadget caught the story this morning and it was confirmed during a press event held at Google’s London headquarters.
The feature set will be the same as that available in the US and will be available to all Android devices running version 1.6 or higher. The popular HTC Hero which still runs version 1.5 will receive an update in June to allow it to use the new service too.
Key features include:
- Business search
- Traffic alerts and auto re-routing around problem areas
- Satellite and ‘Streetview’ views whilst navigating
- Layers with ‘points of interest’
- Voice activation
- Low data use: typically 200KB for a 20km route. Data is pre-cached and navigation continues if internet access is lost.
The delay to availability of the service was due to the additional testing required Google admitted – the US are less keen on roundabouts… who knew they’d be such a problem?
Voice search was particularly impressive when demonstrated, coping well with a variety of inputs. It can – we were told – cope with most to be found around the UK and Ireland.
Google are considering other platforms, but this feature is Android-only for now. When pushed for comment on Nokia’s recent Ovi Maps announcement they would only comment that Google Maps navigation was intended to be a simple navigation solution. They are focusing on adding more innovative features (such as voice search) to stimulate a ‘stagnant business’.