Google Maps adds navigation and live traffic updates in India
Google today announced the availability of two new features for Google Maps in India: turn-by-turn voice-guided driving directions through Google Maps Navigation (Beta) and live traffic information for several major cities.
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 a part of the 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. (Note that while the Google Maps app itself is a free download from Google Play and Google doesn’t charge users for access to navigation, the Google Maps app does require an internet connection and users are responsible for any mobile data charges they incur while using the app.)
Google Maps Navigation takes advantage of long-standing features of Google Maps for mobile. These features include powerful Google search and voice search capabilities, which allow users to find local destinations by typing or speaking an address or business name. (At the present time, voice search is only available in English.) Google’s search tools simplify the process of navigation by assisting the user in intelligent ways -- for example, misspelled or ambiguous queries are corrected and clarified, without requiring the user to enter an exact address -- and quickly calculating 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). Desktop users of Google Maps can even review “typical” traffic conditions on a given road at specific days and times. On every platform, traffic information is displayed in a simple and readable color scheme: red for significant congestion, yellow for minor slow-downs, and green for free-flowing traffic. Google Maps Navigation also takes traffic data into account when calculating directions, so users will automatically be routed around areas of major congestion if a faster alternative route is available nearby.
Speaking at the launch of these services, Darren Baker, Product Manager for 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.” Highlighting the significance of today’s announcements for the Indian market, he added: “We’re extremely excited to bring Google Maps Navigation and live traffic information to Google Maps users in one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest-growing markets for online maps, and we’re confident that these features will help Indian users find their way around town with greater ease and convenience than ever before.”