Google Maps Navigation 4.2 turn-by-turn GPS is now available for Android smartphones 1.6 and later in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland for Android devices 1.6 and higher. Moreover, Google Search by Voice now recognizes and understands French, German, Italian, and Spanish when users in those countries download it from the Android Market.
Google June 8 expanded the scope of its Google Maps Navigation
and Google Search by Voice features in an effort to gain
a larger audience for those programs on smartphones.
The Google Maps Navigation 4.2 turn-by-turn GPS feature is
available for Android smartphones 1.6
and later in Austria, Belgium, Canada,
Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and
Switzerland for Android devices 1.6 and higher.
Google Maps Navigation as a free navigational tool and a disruption to
paid GPS apps and devices last October for Android 2.0 devices such as the new
Users could type or speak their destination into an
Android-based smartphone and the GPS feature would kick in, voicing
turn-by-turn directions for users.
Users can also type a business name and see
a local list and directions to that business. Route searches include layers,
helping users sniff out gas stations, restaurants or parking. Google later adapted the tool
to run on Android 1.6 devices.
However, the feature's potential was still limited
because it was only available for Google Maps in the U.S., U.K. and Ireland at
launch. Today's expansion into 11 more countries with version 4.2 solves that
Of course, in order for Google Maps Navigation to be
fully effective in the 11 new countries it's available in, it search by voice capability
should learn the local languages.
To this point, search by voice
has been available in
English, Mandarin Chinese and Japanese but Google's lofty goal is to bring the
tool to speakers of all languages.
The utility now recognizes and understands French,
German, Italian, and Spanish when users in those countries download it from the
That's a start, but it won't help Google Maps Navigation
users who are native to Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland access search
by voice. Moreover, Google Speech Technologies Product Manager Amir Man??Â« offers
"Note that our new language models are designed for
accents from Spain, France, Italy, and Germany. If you speak one of the new
languages with another accent (for example, German in Austria, French in
Switzerland, or Spanish in Mexico), Search by voice may not work so well for
These inconsistencies and the obvious language gaps may
be forgiven because it's so early in the game. The task of grokking all the
world's thousands of languages is Herculean.
Google provides some insight into this complex process, as
well as the different ways users of Android iPhone and BlackBerry devices may
access search by voice (this cries out for more uniforimity), here in this blog post