Turn-By-Turn Navigation Coming to Maps... Someday
The Google Maps mobile app brought GPS mapping to a lot of people who would never have bought a standalone device. Jailbreakers have had turn-by-turn navigation for the better part of a year with xGPS
, but Google has been dragging their feet. Finally, they announced Google Maps Navigation last year, but only for Android. Today, however, in a press conference in London, Google said it will bring free turn-by-turn to the iPhone, along with other mobile devices... but didn't say when.
At the press conference, which was meant to announce the release of UK mapping for Google Maps Navigation
, Maps product manager Steve Lee explained that - unlike standalone devices or other mobile phone GPS navigators - Google's app doesn't do the route planning itself. Instead, it pushes that task to Google's cloud, improving speed of calculation and using Google's (hopefully) accurate best-path algorithm. However, it does mean that you need a data connection while you're planning your route, though not when you're driving. "If you intermittently lose the connection," Lee said, "it will still carry on, as long as you stay on the route."
The company's spokespeople seemed to relish the anxiety their free product would likely cause to competitors like TomTom or Garmin. “Google prides itself on innovating in markets that have been stagnant for a while,” boasted Hugo Barra, the company's director of mobile products. “I think navigation is a good example. It will be good for users.”