Google Maps Navigation

If you're not the sort of person who explicitly trusts GPS and mobile navigation, move on. For everyone else, Google's just flipped the switch on a cool little feature for Google Maps Navigation (which we're reminded yet again is still technically a beta product). Now, when you're driving and using a Google Maps Nav route and have traffic up ahead, the app will automatically route you around it. And you don't have to touch a thing. From the Google Mobile Blog:

You don’t have to do anything to be routed around traffic; just start Navigation like you normally would, either from the Navigation app or from within Google Maps. ... Starting today, our routing algorithms will also apply our knowledge of current and historical traffic to select the fastest route from those alternates. That means that Navigation will automatically guide you along the best route given the current traffic conditions.

Hey, whatever keeps us from having to ask for directions is a good thing. Full deets at the source link. [Google Mobile Blog]

 

Reader comments

Google Maps Navigation will now automatically route you around traffic

57 Comments

I wonder how Garmin and Tom Tom and other stay in business now that every android phone has free GPS.

You won't wonder very long in the Western US, where you run into out of signal in lots of places, or in the canyons of any big city. On board maps are essential everywhere except you east coasters with your cheek by jowl cities and towns.

Garmin will deliver you to the correct side of the street. No so with Google Nav.

Besides, without a windshield mount, a cell phone is downright dangerous as navigation device unless you have a co-pilot, and its less than ideal even when you do.

My Garmin routes around traffic, and the traffic is real-time. Accident up ahead now, 10 minute delay. Google's is based on their historical data.

Google's "current traffic" is way worse than Garmin's. (Although Garmin's is only available in certain metropolitan places), and Google's data is often out of date. (Turn on the traffic layer in Google Maps for PC and zoom into any area you are familiar with. You will find it horribly out of date. Mine shows delays for roadwork completed in 2009 for pete sake).

Unless or until Google starts Crowd sourcing traffic delays from phones stuck in traffic don't expect much from this feature except in dense metro areas.

Having said all that, I LIKE GOOGLE NAV, and I use it to scout routes which is something it excels at. (Way better than the Dash mount Garmin) I just last week scouted routes to Spring Training in Arizona on the PC, saved it to My Maps, and you can open these maps as Layers on the phone (Layers / More Layers / My Maps)

Still not junking my Garmin any time soon.

Check your facts before you post.

* Google Navigation downloads your entire trip information when the user starts navigating, it doesn't matter if you lose signal during your trip, Google Navigation will even reroute travelers if they missed a turn and off network.
http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2010/12/under-hood-of-google-maps-50-fo...

* Google Navigation in fact does show "real-time" traffic information. (if you bother to read the announcement Google issued today they clearly state, in english. "starting today, our routing algorithms will also apply our knowledge of ((current)) and historical traffic to select the fastest route from those alternates."
http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2011/03/youve-got-better-things-to-do-t...

* Google Navigation has been crowdsourcing congestion data since 2009. They even display traffic information on side streets and access roads if there's enough user-generated data to support to calculate traffic flow.
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/08/bright-side-of-sitting-in-traffic...

Sir, consider your bubble popped.

Ah, thats only partially true.

Your first point: You conveniently failed to read this part:

Then when you’re plugged in and connected over WiFi, caching happens automatically. Near your frequent places, you’ll get detailed vector tiles for city-sized regions so you can see every road labeled. Further away, you’ll have less detail but will typically have towns and highways labeled for miles. We’re continuing to work on these algorithms, so you’ll see improvements over time.

You also fail to mention that while traveling in rural areas, you can't fetch tiles fast enough over Edge to even keep up with your car, let alone cache anything.

Your Second point:
apply our knowledge of current and historical traffic

Their KNOWLEDGE of current traffic is sadly lacking. Doesn't matter what they claim when you can prove it woefully out of date by simply playing with it as I mentioned.

There is still no way I would navigate by phone with a Garmin on the dash. Google Nav does not call lane changes. It often calls turns too late. Phone call comes in and you are TOAST. (especially on CDMA).

Finding a gas station ahead along your route is a nightmare.

The only people who would nav long distances with google nav are people who have never used a Garmin or TomTom.

Its a nice try, but its pretty pathetic in comparison to the real thing.

Clearly judging on the post you've made in this comment thread, you're a buffoon or simply on a anti-Google Navigation campaign. Incoming CDMA calls wont stop navigation, you can still choose to pull up the Navigation app from the background and it'll continue to follow you assuming your using a windshield or AC vent mount. (safety first)

Perhaps if you spent more time actually using the application you would have realized it warns drivers to bear left or bear right when lane changes occur.

While in navigation mode... *snickers* get this, you can search for a infinite number of POI's along your route including 'gas stations'. Need to know prices at the pump, well, using Android there is a app for that (Gas Buddy).

We can play this game all day pal.

Someone obviously works for Garmin and is fearing for his job. The WIFI option can be turned off under preferences. I drove from Minneapolis to Chicago through the dead zone that is WI. Had ZERO problems with the route and that is when I went airplane mode.

I have a high end TomTom and to be blunt. I stopped using it after I got my EVO back in November. Why the hell would I ever want to deal with buying a new Garmin or TomTom to get new mapping features (Not maps, but features.) when they are routinely coming out once per quarter on Google Maps for free. I mean hell finding a restaurant, clicking the item on the map, calling the place, and booking a reservation without needing a phone + bluetooth + the GPS device. Why would anyone want to ever go back to that? Other then being stuck in the past or fearing for their job.

TomTom

Why do children always assume someone with a different experience works for that company? I work for myself.

And there is no way you can cache a route from Min to Chi with airplane mode on. You made that up. Even google says thats not possible.

Ok I live and work in the San Francisco Bay area, last time I checked that was western US. For the last 6 years I have been a field engineer traveling the entire state so I speak from experience here.

I have a high end Navigon and I quit using it a little over a year ago when I got my first android phone. Traffic updates are faster then the TOM TOM or anything else out there as they depend on traffic broadcast that is carried over local radio stations, This can be up to a half hour off.

Secondarily in California you CAN NOT have anything mounted on your windshield or from you mirror with the exception of your FastTrak transponder. This is classified as a moving violation and you can be ticketed for it. Also having it on your windshield I always found impeded my view of the road when really I was only listing to it 99% of the time and looking for the street name it had read off to me before.

You're mistaken about the legality of mounting a GPS unit on one's windshield in California. It's legal to do so as long as one follows the guidelines.

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(12) A portable Global Positioning System (GPS), which may be mounted in a seven-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield farthest removed from the driver or in a five-inch square in the lower corner of the windshield nearest to the driver and outside of an airbag deployment zone, if the system is used only for door-to-door navigation while the motor vehicle is being operated.
----

http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d12/vc26708.htm

Along with the other reply I have Verizon and my maps never go offline traveling all over the Western United States. Been from Washington to Colorado to Arizona and dropped signal all of about 2 minutes so I guess it depends on the network cause I have had a Garmin and my google nav has out performed it so far.

I wonder the same thing... and also why they even make apps for Android when Maps has nav built-in

I just wish I knew how to talk to the google team. I have one location that navigation refuses to get right. I want to let them know so we can get constant improvement. Anyone know of an email address?

I wish Google would work on the voice. It is the only thing that keeps me using my Garmin. The voice doesn't sound that great to me...

I've read that there are programs in the Market that change the voice. I have not personally looked into it though.

You can change the voice used in Google Navigation, simply download a new Text-To-Speak engine from the Market Place. I recommend the SVOX Classic engine. Just be prepared, while the engine is free, there is a fee for the additional voices but it’s one of the best investments I’ve made. Having a sexy British womans voice telling me where to go equals AWESOME.

13 Meg voice files install on phone with no option to move them to microSD.

Not enough room on my Nexus for that.

You really are a uneducated troll aren't you. The voice files in fact DO support installation on the SD card. Total internal storage used for the voice data a mere 196KB using the SVOX TTS engine.

Where's my troll be gone spray.

Yeah the voice is definitely crap. Garmin and TomTom will stay afloat because GoogNav has problems when you don't have a good data connection. I know I've lost it a couple of times and was left driving around w/o directions :(

You can change the voice by purchasing one of the voices from the app market go into setting and apply the new voice.

Google navigation is a joke. It won't even get you close to your destination, especially if it's a business and they have relocated in the past few years. Worst navigation system ever.

Go to google.com and search for something local like "McDonald's near [your zip code]"

Those mapped results are business listings.

Other reply is correct if you own a business you can set your location in Google yourself. Then Google will use the listing you put in and nothing else.

Those companies need to update their listing to have them work properly.

Businesses claim them and then prove they own them. This really is simple go read about google business listings and you will be enlightened.

Ever think that if you put in the correct address from the beginning you will make it to the correct address? Google search the business you are trying to get to BEFORE you use navigation? Your argument holds no weight.....
Just saying "Go to business XYZ" on a voice search and expecting accuracy 100% of the time shows ignorance on your side. The navigation is still in BETA after all.

I don't want them to "automatically reroute me"... I think I would rather stay in traffic than take the scenic route through some decrepit hood... I prefer Telenav.. It has consistently been better and has never failed me and usually has much better routes and it gives you CHOICES.

You aren't automatically rerouted unless you want to be. Also, Google Nav does give you route choices. Sounds like you just didn't give it a fair try.

Good point. No, I have only used the last iteration thus far and Telenav was constantly better/more accurate down to the meter (tried it side by side with my BB).. Telenav still gave me better route choices than Google did and seemed better at trying to guess what I was doing when I didn't follow the route lol.. However, that may be different depending on where you live I guess.. I have yet to test drive the new one... Maybe over the weekend..

finally!
i've been wanting this for months

what i haven't been wanting is putting 15 extra miles on my trip to circumvent 2 miles...but, i guess time is more valuable

either way, i'm excited they finally pushed this out

How bout 15 extra miles to circumvent two hours?

After all, that's what traffic routing is all about.

Well....this is great news.

You know what they SHOULD fix? They should really try to fix Google trying to give you the longest route as the best route sometimes.

Maps has taken me through scenic routes over the truly faster routes before... There I go trusting technology :p

^True story though.

Navigation is one of the most useful apps on my EVO. It's amazing how much better Google Maps is on Android versus WebOS. This looks like a promising upgrade to Google Maps.

This goes for any and all navigation but....you shouldn't just listen to the navigation unless you truly aren't sure whats the best route.

For instance, if i you are familiar with one highways more than others, you know what will be the fastest route, so if the navigation suggests something else, just go the route you think is better and let it auto correct itself.

Despite what some may think about Google Maps Nav, this is a win in my book!!
It hasn't steered me in the wrong direction yet (and I've used it going cross country twice, with no issues whatsoever).
For the most part, I do believe people that have issues with this, have either put the wrong address or are just too critical.
Keep in mind, nothing is solid... even old school paper maps.

Nice idea , too bad it only works in the U.S.
I can get Google maps to find roads & streets here in Jeddah (in Saudi Arabia) , but it can't get directions for me (even when the GPS is on) , it can get my location when I'm moving , but thats about it

Know what happens when Google Maps reroutes everybody with Android phones the same direction?......A NEW TRAFFIC JAM! :)

Guess I'm just spoiled for choice. On the Tab I have Google maps/navigation and it's always worked just fine. Also was fine on the Desire HD I briefly owned. In the unlikely event that Google navigation craps out on the Tab, for whatever reason, i'll just switch to Copilot that I have installed instead. So I have streaming amd locally stored map options covered. Seem to recall that on phones like the Dhd and Desire Z, tiles for frequently used routes are automatically cached.

As most of you appear to be in the US you won't have had a chance to use or try Ovi Maps, Nokia's satnav app. Yes, I said Nokia, quit giggling! Ovi Maps works really well has both options, either using streaming (downloading the route tiles), or locally storing the whole area using a pc based app. The maps are free (now) too. Think it has traffic updates on it as well. Have it on my Samsung i8910 (along with GarminXT).

Google should look into providing a similar setup, where you can download entire sections of an area, releasing the dependance on 3g. If an app like Backcountry Navigator can do it, why can't Google?

The Whitestone Expressway to the Cross Island?? What kind of shenanigans is this?? Just jump on the Grand Central... Wait, we're not talking about the picture?

hi im new to this and how do i get to download this google maps navigation can any one tell me please ?