Google adds free car navigation features to Android


— 3:50 PM on October 28, 2009

Android just got a whole lot more interesting. In a move that's sent shares of satnav device makers tumbling, Google has announced the addition of free car navigation features to its Android mobile platform.

As Engadget reports, the functionality builds upon existing Google Maps software and adds just everything you might want or expect: turn-by-turn navigation, voice recognition, satellite view, Street View, regularly updated traffic data, and the ability to search for gas stations and restaurants along the way.

Google Maps Navigation (which is in beta, naturally) can also switch to a car-friendly user interface with large buttons if you plug your phone into a compatible car dock. Engadget says that particular perk is "definitely a hardware-based feature," however, so it may not necessarily work on all Android devices. For what it's worth, Google uses the upcoming $199 Motorola Droid in its demo videos.

Speaking of videos, you can watch Google Maps Navigation in action on this page. Engadget has posted a short hands-on demo over here, as well.

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