Google already provides the free Google Maps service, but could they be planning to step up to full on turn-by-turn navigation? Forbes thinks so:
Google, which generally gives its software away for free and recoups its investment through advertising, would likely sell ads within the navigation application rather than charge users, experts say. The ads could be particularly valuable because the program would know users' precise locations and destinations, allowing advertisers to pinpoint specific kinds of consumers. Google recently started running sponsored link ads in Apple's ( AAPL - news - people ) iPhone map application, which it helped build.
Forbes cites competitors who think Google will enter the "small but lucrative" space, and it would be a great value-add to Android, extending Google's control over the software to an area some carriers still want all to themselves (with the monthly subscription feeds that go with it).
Before international readers get too excited, however, like Google Voice, it might be US-only, especially at first. That, and other factors have potential competitors already getting their shots in:
"Millions of customers use our service because of its reliability, ease of use and additional features," [Mary Beth Lowell of TeleNav] says. [Steve Andler of Networks in Motion] contends the mobile market is different from the Internet, where "everything's free and always in beta. People are willing to pay a premium to have something work all the time on their phones."
Translation: they won't try to compete with Google on price.
But what about you? Would you let Google monitor your GPS coordinates and activities, and send you targeted ads, in exchange for free navigation?