Google has introduced two new features for Google Maps in India. These include turn-by-turn voice-guided driving directions through Google Maps Navigation (beta) and live traffic information for major cities.
For the record, Google Maps Navigation is an internet-connected GPS navigation system that provides turn-by-turn voice-guided driving directions as a free feature of Google Maps for mobile on smartphones running Android version 2.2 or later.
As part of Google Maps for mobile application, Google Maps Navigation automatically accesses the latest information about roads and points of interest from Google's online mapping services without the need for any manual data updates. It is pertinent to note here that Google Maps app is a free download from Google Play and Google doesn't charge users for access to navigation. Also, the Google Maps app requires an internet connection and users are responsible for any mobile data charges they incur while using the app.
Google Maps Navigation includes features of Google Maps for mobile such as Google search and voice search capabilities, which allow users to find local destinations by typing or speaking an address or business name (currently, voice search is only available in English).
Google's search tools aim to simplify the process of navigation by assisting the user in intelligent ways. For instance, misspelled or ambiguous queries are corrected and clarified, without requiring the user to enter an exact address and quickly calculate the optimal route from origin to destination.
In addition to Google Maps Navigation, which is accessible to Android users anywhere in India, live traffic information is now available on Google Maps in India for major roads in the prominent cities of Bengaluru, Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad. Users can check current traffic conditions by enabling the "Traffic" layer on maps.google.co.in (for desktop browsers) or in Google Maps for mobile (on their smartphones). Also, desktop users of Google Maps can even review "typical" traffic conditions on a given road on specific days and at specific times. On every platform, traffic information is displayed in a simple and readable colour scheme. Google Maps Navigation also takes traffic data into account when calculating directions. This will help users to automatically be routed around areas of major congestion if a faster alternative route is available nearby, Google claims.
Speaking at the launch of the service, Darren Baker, product manager, Google Maps, said, "Our goal in developing Google Maps is to provide users with the most comprehensive and accurate online maps in every country, and to share the features and benefits of Google Maps as widely as we can."