When it comes to maps, Google has had nearly everything: great satellite imagery, huge coverage, and even some basic navigation features, but not what everyone that’s ever used a GPS device really wants: turn-by-turn navigation.
This changes today, as Google just released a beta version of Google Maps Navigation for Android 2.0. Here’s a quick 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
Google Maps Navigation does two very important things for Google: it makes it a competitor to established GPS firms like TomTom and Garmin, which should make this space a lot more interesting, and it suddenly makes Android – the only platform this app is currently available on – a lot more desirable. And – you guessed it – the first Android 2.0 phone to support this app is the upcoming Motorola Droid.
Check out a video overview of Google Maps Navigation and some screenshots below.