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How to use Google Navigation as a car GPS replacement

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  BrianSawyer's Photo
Posted Mar 12 2010 06:48 AM

Last night, I needed my Garmin to get somewhere important, but when I reached for it in the glove box, I remembered I'd loaned it out to the other car in our family and hadn't gotten it back yet. What to do?

No Garmin in the glove box, but I did have my G1 on me, and the directions on Google Maps had saved me on numerous occasions, so I fired it up and plugged in my destination:

Google Navigation

Google NavigationThat Navigate option was new to me. I'd remembered hearing about Google Navigation coming to phones running versions of Android below 2.0 (my G1 is running Android 1.6, but note that Navigation is still not available for my Motorola Cliq, which is still back on Android 1.5), but I hadn't had the chance to look into it yet. So, here was my chance. I pressed Navigate ...

Turns out I wasn't quite ready to roll yet, because Navigation required an additional (free) text-to-speech download to work. The download process was a little buggy, which forced me to install it a couple times, but I after I closed Maps and started back up again it seemed to work. I pressed Navigate again ...

Here's what my new turn-by-turn directions and route map now looked with Google Navigation turned on:

Google Navigation Google Navigation

Ready to get driving, I switched over to the turn-by-turn map screen, but I could have used Street View if I'd wanted (it's neat to look at but not as usable for actually driving, especially since I actually had a real-time street view right in front of me):

Google Navigation Google Navigation

I also could have turned on a selection of layers to show gas stations, banks, traffic, and parking along my route:

Google Navigation Google Navigation

All of these bells and whistles are great, interesting, and good fun, but for my phone to actually serve as a viable replacement for my Gamin GPS, it would need to speak to me, telling me when to turn. Well, it does, and in my experience, it worked just as well as my Garmin, and all for free. If you're looking to buy a GPS unit for your car but already have a phone running Android 1.6 or higher, at least give Google Navigation a try first. You might just save yourself a few hundred dollars.

But what does Google Navigation Lady sound like? Take a listen:

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10 Replies

 : Mar 12 2010 09:04 AM
I've used turn-by-turn navigation on my Droid a couple times and I've been shocked at how well it works. It quelled any lingering buyer's remorse I had over buying the phone. My problem now is figuring out what to do with my 3-year-old GPS device.
Mac Slocum
Online Managing Editor
 : Mar 12 2010 09:55 AM
Droid navigation does work well--and it was built in, so I didn't have to install anything. However, the voice, as you can probably hear from the video in the original note, isn't as good as the voices in my Garmin GPS, and the Droid's directions, while accurate, aren't always the most direct route--or even close. It tends to stick to larger roads even when a smaller road might be considerably faster. Still, it was good enough that I passed the Garmin on to my kids, and now rely on the Droid. The Google Street View and walking navigation feature (still in beta) are far better than the Garmin when you're walking around a strange city.

On the Droid, in Google Maps, press and hold any location to get an address popup for that location. Then, press and hold the address popup to get an option to navigate to that address. When you know where you're going, that can save you a little typing time.
 : Mar 13 2010 02:05 PM
Just to be clear, the voice navigation works out of the box on newer Android phones like the Droid and Nexus One. The download Brian describes is necessary only for older versions of Android.
 : Mar 13 2010 02:33 PM
Right, Tim. I should have been more specific. It applies to devices running Android 1.6 or higher (but not 2.0). It doesn't look like it's even an option on devices still on 1.5.
 : May 05 2010 06:04 PM
FYI, newer Android phones such as the Nexus One and Motorola Droid have Car Docks for use with Google Maps Navigation.

Nexus One Car Dock
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Motorola Droid
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 : Jul 15 2010 01:50 AM
Navigator isnt available in Australia yet, so you will have to install the file from [APPMOD][24.06.10] Brut Google Maps - xda-developers or somewhere similar, and install it onto your android device to use.
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  lilymarlene's Photo
Posted Jan 18 2013 08:16 AM

I decided to change the GPS that I installed a couple of months ago in the car with Google Navigation after a friend suggested this. I regret my decision, the Google Navigation system has too many bugs, guess the programmers still have a lot of work to do. Two weeks ago I gave the car to a car donation company, it had installed Google Navigation, I am sure the new owner will change it with a GPS system.
  wasan sotikul's Photo
Posted May 23 2013 06:01 AM

GPS was used to screen ดูหนังออนไลน์ with this very interesting, but today I see the Iphone Gps and watch movies with.
  lennardgarnett's Photo
Posted Jul 26 2013 03:25 AM

I have used Google Navigation as a car GPS in my Hyundai Tucson, my son showed me this alternative and to be honest I like it more than the previous GPS system. He suggested that I should install AIRDOG fuel system from Diesel Performance Parts, I`ve had some problems with the stock fuel system and this would make my car have better mileage.
  Penlove's Photo
Posted Oct 06 2013 11:07 PM

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