This past weekend presented my first opportunity to try Google’s navigation service which is built on top of Google Maps in Android. As with most things in Android directions (walk, drive and transit) are well contextualized within many places. This contextual awareness is definitely a key strength of Android as a platform …
Anyway, I was looking for a piece of AV gear and decided to try my nearest Best Buy which I found via Google Maps and then took the opportunity to use navigation to get there. I’ve got GPS in the car already, but figured a live test would be good … and as my GPS in the car has maps that are 5 years old, I thought I might have better luck.
Navigation started right away and the audible directions were clear if not a bit robotic…. to be expected. When it seemed like I was there yet with no sign of the store, I thought something might be wrong. I tried my iPhone’s Google Maps which also reported (to be expected) the same information and eventually had to fall on my manly pride and ask for directions. The address info on the map was completely wrong and while GPS steered me properly, there was no way to find the destination.
I eventually found the store, waited patiently and discovered they did not have what I wanted. Time could have easily have been saved using Google Shopper, or perhaps even the actual phone. (the horror!)
On the way home, I again used the phone to navigate even though I knew how to go … this time however the route plotted was a bit different than the way out and I lost connectivity a few times (AT&T) and as a result the navigation became confused. It wasn’t until my connection was restored that my navigation was again able to be used properly.
Two key lessons …
- Phones are fickle as GPS devices (still) required a live data connection even for plotted routed.
- Navigation systems are only as good as the data on the map.
I’d still recommend Google Navigation … It looks beautiful and the audible prompts are easy to follow. It’s an amazing free addition …
Today Nokia announced Maps with free navigation for everyone which is a very big deal. Previously the only way to get turn by turn navigation was to buy a Navigator device. Nokia had offered free trials of the navigation service on most newer mid to higher end devices but to put it all out there is a very powerful offer.
The goes beyond just the turn by turn piece and includes all the premium content within Maps – again a very cool and substantial detail. You now have full access to all the premium content:
- Free Drive navigation
- Free Walk navigation
- Free maps and map updates
- Free Events guides
- Free Lonely Planet guides
- Free Michelin guides
When Google first announced Android 2.0 would include free navigation it was a bold move, and became an instant black eye for everyone else. Nokia’s initial response with the 5800 Navigation Edition was pretty limited by comparison while today’s play is substantially more bold! I’m sure this was not an easy pill for management to swallow given Navigation is one of the larger revenue generating services.
Nokia’s reach and share is still larger than anyone else’s and I expect others to follow suit as a result. Consumers are now going to expect navigation as a standard feature of a smartphone – in the same way maps previously was.
On my way home tonight I fired up Google Maps to get an address and since I use Latitude, I was also activating my location. Â I got an sms telling me my friend and colleague Will was “nearby.” Â I received the image above in an email with a similar message …
I actually had forgotten I had turned on these location settings, and now that I see how they really function, I have a few suggestions:
- 50+ KM is not exactly a practical range for spur of the moment meetups for starters. Â Will was 52km away when the alert triggered …
- There’s no contact number in the sms alert which forces a few more steps to contact (call or sms) the person
I love the idea of social location and if you follow me across various services I’m sure you’ve noticed as well. Â What Google is doing is trying to make it easy through the use of location history, but it’s still unclear how that works without constantly opening Maps. Â I can’t afford to let Latitude project my location in the background all day as GPS tends to eat batteries … Â I’m wondering if there isn’t some sort of data partnership to be had with the various check-in services (or even Yelp!) to augment the more direct GPS tagging you do with maps. Â The more data in the mix here the more valuable the results.
Btw – Will developed the Michael Ruhlman Ratio iPhone app – be sure to check it out!
With all the noise yesterday about Android 2.0 and Google’s new free navigation service, this release just feels a bit … Meh.
Navigation market leader, Telmap, has used its unique navigation technology and NAVTEQâ€™s superior global map data, to bring a comprehensive mobile search, mapping and navigation solution for the iPhone, thus enabling mass adoption of mobile navigation. via Realwire
Since Nokia owns Navteq is does also immediately bring back my first thought on Ovi Maps…. How much longer can Nokia even consider charging for navigation services? nbsp;The PND category took a huge hit yesterday … Garmin alone lost 1.2 Billion off their market cap.
Once again the rules have changed. Will Nokia continue to play the same hand?