Google has publicly dished on its new turn-by-direction service, Google Navigation, which will be available on Android 2.0 mobile devices.
The app is currently in beta and is based on Google Maps data. In addition to existing Google Maps features like traffic information and satellite views, Google Navigation also mixes in plain English searching, searching by voice, and Street View integration that allows users to see what the turns will look like. The app is in a direct challenge to GPS device makers Garmin and TomTom.
Motorola's new Droid phone will be the first to use Google's Navigation software and goes on sale November 6 at Verizon Wireless.
The Droid, which includes a computer-like keyboard and a new version of Google's software, Android 2.0, will also compete against Apple's iPhone which is available on AT&T's network in the United States.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt said the navigation service reflects the rapidly growing power of mobile devices, particularly when they are linked to Google's power to process data using its cloud of networked computers.
The mobile platforms, Android and the others, are so powerful now that you can build client apps that do magical things, that are connected to the cloud, Schmidt told reporters in a briefing this week. This is the most visually obvious example of that.
Below is an overview of the features:
- Search in plain English – quickly search and navigate to places, businesses, landmarks
- Search by voice
- View of live traffic data over the Internet.
- Search along route – find locations near your current path
- Satellite view – you can view the same satellite imagery you’ve seen Google Maps, on your phone
- Street View – check out what the exact surroundings of a location look like
- Car dock mode – when you place certain devices in a car dock, a special mode activates that enables easier operation