Is new Google Nav service really Android-only?

Google Maps Navigation,introduced today, puts the company in direct competition with GPS makers and former best friend, Apple.

Google Maps Navigation,introduced today, puts the company in direct competition with GPS makers and former best friend, Apple. The service, which can nicely replace a standalone GPS, is only available for handsets running Google's Android operating system.

Is an iPhone version in the works?

Or, is Google really declaring war on its old partner?

You decide:

"Apple is a close partner, and millions of users experience Google Maps on the iPhone," said a Google spokesperson in an e-mailed statement.

"We will continue to work with Apple to bring innovation, including Latitude and Navigation, to users, but you'll have to speak to Apple about availability.

At one time, Google Maps Navigation would have surfaced first on Apple's iPhone. But, today's announcement of the service, which coincides with the formal announcement of Motorola's Droid handset, makes no mention of the iPhone.

Does that sound like a marriage gone sour, or what?

Google's other navigation app, a locator service called Latitude, is not available as an iPhone application and remains the subject of controversy as to who has kept it from being released, AT&T or Apple.

Is Google saying Apple will have to accept Latitude to get the new navigation service? Could be.

According to Google's official blog, the service includes all the features you'd expect in a high-end GPS for an automobile. These include turn-by-turn voice navigation, search bu voice, live traffic data, constantly updated maps, and searching along your route.

Street view allows drivers to see an upcoming intersection, with the route overlaid onto it. At the end of the trip, a picture of the destination is also displayed. (Nice touch for the chronically lost).

This is an excellent feature set and offers what a GPS user might want, minus a larger screen than most handsets offer. Garmin, Magellan, and Tomtom should be very afraid, indeed.

There is one important downside, however: You need a data connection to use the service, making standalone devices or maps loaded onto the handset a better option for some users.

While a handset may also be more difficult to use than a dedicated GPS (or not, it's open to debate), the price of Google's new service (free) is certainly right and saving the cost of a standalone GPS may pay for the handset.

If you are going to have a smartphone anyway, why not use Google's Maps and save some money on a GPS?

Yesterday, I wondered aloud how long it would be until iPhone users would need to make a decision betweens staying with Apple or moving to Android. I speculated that Google might release a "killer app" for Android that would not be available for iPhone. I didn't think I only had a day to wait.

For convenience, here is how Google describes the features of its new navigation service:

The most recent map and business data

When you use Google Maps Navigation, your phone automatically gets the most up-to-date maps and business listings from Google Maps - you never need to buy map upgrades or update your device. And this data is continuously improving, thanks to users who report maps issues and businesses who activate their listings with Google Local Business Center.

Search in plain English

Google Maps Navigation brings the speed, power and simplicity of Google search to your car. If you don't know the address you're looking for, don't worry. Simply enter the name of a business, a landmark or just about anything into the search box, and Google will find it for you. Then press "Navigate", and you're on your way.

Search by voice

Typing on a phone can be difficult, especially in the car, so with Google Maps Navigation, you can say your destination instead. Hold down the search button to activate voice search, then tell your phone what you want to do (like "Navigate to Pike Place in Seattle"), and navigation will start automatically.

Traffic view

Google Maps Navigation gets live traffic data over the Internet. A traffic indicator light in the corner of the screen glows green, yellow or red, depending on the current traffic conditions along your route. If there's a jam ahead of you, you'll know. To get more details, tap the light to zoom out to an aerial view showing traffic speeds and incidents ahead. And if the traffic doesn't look good, you can choose an alternate route.

Search along route

For those times when you're already on the road and need to find a business, Google Maps Navigation searches along your route to give you results that won't take you far from your path. You can search for a specific business by name or by type, or you can turn on popular layers, such as gas stations, restaurants or parking.

Satellite view

Google Maps Navigation uses the same satellite imagery as Google Maps on the desktop to help you get to your destination. Turn on the satellite layer for a high-resolution, 3D view of your upcoming route. Besides looking cool, satellite view can help you make sense of complicated maneuvers.

Street View

If you want to know what your next turn looks like, double-tap the map to zoom into Street View, which shows the turn as you'll see it, with your route overlaid. And since locating an address can sometimes be tricky, we'll show you a picture of your destination as you approach the end of your route, so you'll know exactly what to look for.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Google Maps NavigationGoogle MapsGooglemobile phonesGPSsmartphonesAndroidnavigation

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

David Coursey

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?