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September 10, 2012

Google Launches Free Voice Navigation In India

Finally, Indians can enjoy the privilege of a free and accurate voice assisted navigation, as Google launched its navigation service in India which would allow the Smartphone and Tablet owners to get turn-by-turn voice instructions to reach the destination by walk or drive. The service will be available free for Android platforms.

Even though the app was available free with the Android versions, it lacked official supported till now. The current beta version of this app was found to be accurate in a test by TOI. The users can select instructions either for walking or driving and the app automatically reroutes its coordinates, in case the user deviates from proposed path. It also provides layered information on the popular landmarks, petrol bunks, ATMs and restaurants on the way.

According to Darren Baker, product manager for Google Maps, “the service, which is available in 40 languages in 74 countries, is now offered only in English. However, the announcement of upcoming directions in the navigation service is in a ‘friendly, familiar Indian accent’”. India is a ‘dynamic and fast-growing’ market for online map services, he continued.

Even though India is a strong customer base for many Smartphone manufacturers and internet based services, not many free navigation services were available to the customers on devices, except Nokia, which offered a navigation service in some of its high end phones. Some paid navigation apps were also available. However, none of these were purely effective in helping people navigate through the highly unorganized Indian routes. But with the availability of Google’s navigation, along with some of its other services like ‘Local’- a dynamic directory of places around a user, and ‘transit’- that uses data supplied by public transport authorities to allow users to get information on routes and times of buses or trains by public transport, the navigation in India, is expected to get much easier.

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