Updated: Google Maps Navigation [Free as in Just Free] for Android 2.0 -- Coming Eventually to iPhone

UPDATE 3: As pointed out in the comments, there's no sign of ad support in Google Maps Navigation (at least not yet). It's just free as in free. UPDATE 2: According to Gizmodo, Google:

implied they are working closely with Apple now on [Google Maps Navigation].

iPhone 2.2 saw Google Street View, could iPhone 3.2 see Google Maps Navigation? Let the drooling begin!

UPDATE 1: Replaced video with official version, moved TechCrunch preview below the fold. Enjoy both!

ORIGINAL: Just a few hours ago TiPb posted about the rumors surrounding a free (with ad support, of course) Google Navigation app, and now TechCrunch has the goods -- it's real, and it's (so far) exclusive to Android 2.0. And we quote:

  • Search in plain English. No need to know the address. You can type a business name (e.g. “starbucks”) or even a kind of a business (e.g. “thai restaurant”), just like you would on Google.

  • Search by voice. Speak your destination instead of typing (English only): “Navigate to the de Young Museum in San Francisco”.

  • Traffic view. An on-screen indicator glows green, yellow, or red based on the current traffic conditions along your route. A single touch on the indicator toggles a traffic view that shows the traffic ahead.

  • Search along route. Search for any kind of business along your route, or turn on popular layers such as gas stations, restaurants, or parking.

  • Satellite view. View your route overlaid on 3D satellite views with Google’s high-resolution aerial imagery.

  • Street View. Visualize turns overlaid on Google’s Street View imagery. Navigation automatically switches to Street View as you approach your destination.

  • Car dock mode. For certain devices, placing your phone in a car dock activates a special mode that makes it easy to use your device at arm’s length.

To quote our own editor-in-chief, it looks "bad@$$", and so far it also looks exclusive to the US, and to Android 2.0, at least for now. But come on Google, you want to give it to everyone outside the US too, right?

[via Chad!]

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

More Posts



← Previously

Google Working on Free [Ad Supported] Turn-by-Turn Navigation App?

Next up →

iGrip Custom Fit Cigarette Lighter Mount Reality Review

Reader comments

Updated: Google Maps Navigation [Free as in Just Free] for Android 2.0 -- Coming Eventually to iPhone


I doubt it's up to Google...it's up to Apple.
And if they allowed this, it would be stepping on a lot of toes.
I like to see how this is played out.

Would be nice for iPhone OS 3.2, but probably more likely for 4.0
Still, I definitely would like to have it as an option.

However, Google is working with Apple on bringing it to the iPhone, and it's not ruling out licensing the software to makers of portable navigation devices used in cars throughout the world, said Gundotra, vice president of engineering at Google for mobile and developers. The process involving Apple is slightly different from the usual App Store submission process, because Maps is a built-in iPhone application, he said.

I absolutely love my Navigon Navigator on the iPhone - EXCEPT - searching for locations (unless taken from Contacts or looking for nearest gas stations and such), really sucks. You can't just search for a name of a restaurant or museum. You have to go into a category and possibly a sub-category and you need to know what town it is in (not always easy where I live).
I also have MotionX GPS Drive which is way more user friendly in its search although not at the level Google seems to be.
There is a real need for improvement and Google at least has the search feature the way it should be. Can't wait to see what happens.

Droid is the iPhone killer - and on a network that you can actually use. I see my iPhone turning into an iPod touch in the near future.

I love how you can just give a vague mention, and it still finds what you're looking for. That is what's doing it for me.

@Rjd Droid is not the iPhone killer YET. they still would need to make the OS more optimized before i switch over to that. Every single video i've seen yet of Droid OS is very sluggy and laggy compared to the iPhone OS, which is KING in that department.

I've always wanted to go Android. This is just another reason to do so. Come on Apple, I know you have it already. Just tell us its comingggggg. Maybe then I won't switch. The way apple keeps these secrets kind of makes me lose interest in them. But that's just me.

I love Google's consistent innovation. Although the hardware it appears on is just not sexy enough for me to make the jump. They keep apple pushing the envelope just to keep up.
For original free iphone wallpapers please visit my new blogwww.useaswallpaper.com

Wow this looks sounds good. Everyone who spent a small fortune on the TomTom stuff is now kicking themselves.

Rene, as this is an iPhone blog, could ya post videos that will play on the iPhone? Many use that as their only computing device (except for dusting off the PC/Mac when an OS update drops)

I'm with Mike on this one. Videos won't play. However. That stupid cigarette lighter iPhone holder thread. Those videos play. So maybe it's who posts them. I think Rene posted the other one. This one is different.
And on Android. I've said it once and I will say it again. Anyone that goes to the android cartoon looking OS after owning an iPhone needs their head examined. The OS is friggin butt compared to iPhone. It still looks cartoony like Barney designed it. And the little android robot looks like a Canadian from southpark. It's just an abomination. Disgusting to say the least.

Dude shut it. Just close that mouth of yours. Stop pretending you know whats going on behind the scenes with companies, all you know is what you read on blogs and we all know that can be trusted. /s Just quiet down

I couldn't tell from the video -- does the system include a voice to tell you when to turn? It seems like it doesn't (or they would have highlighted it in the video). I haven't used other GPS systems in my car, but it seems like this would be a plus.

We always post our own videos in iPhone friendly format, and do our best to post others' likewise, but unfortunately, we have no control over that, and no legal right to reformat them.
However, these are both YouTube videos, and while it might take YouTube a while to process the iPhone specific versions, there's no reason or excuse why they shouldn't play on the iPhone and soon.

Looks like I may be switching carrier and phone. Google is really impressing me lately. First a fresh ui and now new innovations that google it's self not outside developers are always working hard on. A plus on productivity

I'm curious how well taking calls during navigation could work. Does Verizon's CDMA network allow simultaneous voice and data? I know TomTom and others can't keep running while taking a call currently, but Apple could flip a switch and make that possible. With CDMA I don't think this could ever happen. That said, Verizon's 3G coverage could make their streaming map solution viable in non-urban areas unlike on AT&T. Any word on if the robot voice has spoken full street names? If they bring Google Navigation to the iPhone,would we have to have a Google dock.

When I saw this, I thought "great, good job I held off buying the TomTom app" then I saw the "only works in U.S. bit. It can be really frustrating for those of us who live abroad when cool, killer apps appear but are only for U.S. users.

It does have a voice with it. They have a video on Engadget
You should update the title. Gizmode has stated that the turn by turn is NOT supported by ads. It's just completely free...

Only concern is that since you are downloading from Google, you need a data connection. What happens if you drive out of range? Or in an area with Edge only (and can't use the phone and data at the same time?) Edge is pretty slow - I had problems in the past with Google maps keeping up as I was driving.

Though it sounds exciting usage of Goggle navigation will be rather limited without cached maps. If you are in the area with no signal, bad reception or roaming you can forget about it.

Wow, this is really nice. Finally they added some features I've been wishing for. For example, alternate routes. You have no idea how annoying that it tells you only one way of getting there. the street view while driving is also pretty cool.
One thing they should add is the option to create a road plan, if you will. Have different stops in between the departure and arrival.