NEW DELHI: Google on Tuesday launched its much-awaited navigation service in India. The feature, available on Android phones and tablets for free, would allow travelers, whether they are driving or walking, to get directions to a place through turn-by-turn voice instructions.
While Navigation app was always a feature of Android phones in India, the service was not supported officially. It used to show just the route and lacked support for voice instructions. Currently, the Navigation feature is in beta and Google tells users to exercise caution while using it.
We tested the app as soon as it went live and found it to be very accurate. In case of any deviation by a user in the middle of the way, the app automatically reroutes the coordinates. There are various options. Users can select whether they want walking instructions or driving directions. They can add or remove layers to change view from basic to the one that is more detailed. They can also save routes.
Navigation, that uses GPS chips in a device, is one of the most popular features among smartphone and tablet users across the world. In India, however, only Nokia offered this service on its high-end phones for free. TomTom and MapMyIndia were among other companies that provided the navigation service through paid apps.
Several third-party apps like Waze, available on both iPhone and Android devices, offered the service for free though they were not as accurate as Nokia Maps or Google Navigation.
Given the importance of navigation and map related features, Google is quietly bolstering its offerings in India. Along with the navigation, it also offers basic map services and Local, which is a kind of directory of notable places around a user.
Recently, the company brought Transit to several Indian cities. Transit, which uses the data supplied by public transport authorities like Delhi Metro, allows a user to get information on routes covered by public transport and the time at which buses or trains can be boarded. Transit is available in several areas of Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Ahmedabad.
The turn-by-turn navigation may help Android devices stay ahead of iPhone in India. Apple, which recently decided to not use Google Maps in its devices, would be using its own map service in iOS 6. However, building an efficient map service takes time, especially in a country like India where roads and routes are not as organized as they are in the US or European countries. Both Nokia and Google have spent years perfecting their map service in India and it may take a while before Apple could match them here.
source : Google brings voice navigation to India - The Times of India