Google drives into new market with Maps Navigation beta

Google's service for Android users strikes a blow at GPS navigation businesses

If you're an Android user, Google is hoping to help you get where you're going.

The company today unveiled the beta version of Google Maps Navigation for Android 2.0 devices . Basically, Google is trying its hand at a GPS system - and another lucrative business market.

"This new feature comes with everything you'd expect to find in a GPS navigation system, like 3D views, turn-by-turn voice guidance and automatic rerouting," wrote Keith Ito, a Google software engineer, on a blog post today . "But unlike most navigation systems, Google Maps Navigation was built from the ground up to take advantage of your phone's Internet connection."

Ito noted that the new beta release is designed for voice search so users don't have to type on their phones in a vehicle. It will also offer live traffic data, satellite imagery, the ability to find businesses along your route, and a street view.

For Google, the company is not only offering a new feature for the Android , but it's also diving headlong into a new market . And that, according to Dan Olds, principal analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group, is a good idea.

"With this product, Google injects itself into a new market and has the potential to cause serious pain for the existing players, like Garmin and TomTom, while giving potential customers one more solid reason to switch to a Google-powered phone," Olds said. "It's a lot easier to justify the switch to a new device if it takes the place of two devices, like a phone and a navigation device, and if it does the job better."

Google has shown a knack for branching out into new markets. Over the years, it has spread from its search business to maps, operating systems and browsers , for example. Moving into the navigation realm is just one more step.

"This gives Google the potential to pioneer yet another new business model, allowing business to pay for placement on Google Navigation routes," added Olds. "I can see a time down the road when a Google Navigation user on a car trip can use their phone to look for nearby restaurants and get a list customized to her taste, along with maybe an e-coupon for a big discount if they come in now. Or even the ability to order the meal over the phone and have it ready when they get there. This is a business model that is right up Google's alley and could be very profitable -- low cost, high customer impact."

According to Google, the first phone to have Google Maps Navigation and Android 2.0 is the Droid from Verizon. Google Maps Navigation is available immediately in the U.S.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Google Maps NavigationGoogle MapsGoogleGPSAndroid

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.

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)
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

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

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

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?