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Google Maps Navigation comes to UK

The Marauder's Map

Google has released free, turn-by-turn, GPS navigation software for the UK. OK, it's in Beta and it's available for Android phones only, and Google Maps invariably sends you the wrong way the last mile or two. But it's free, free, I tell you.

Google Maps Navigation (Beta) requires internet connectivity, which means it probably isn't good for driving abroad, unless you a good data roaming package. And of course, the internet has a habit of disappearing in places.

The software has fuzzy search capabilities - you can search for your destination and any kind of business or carpark along the way, by voice too.

There is a car dock mode, to make it easier to use your Android device from a distance, and you can also visualise turns with Street View, and if you are feeling really adventurous, overlay the screen with satellite pics.

Android phones are coming out thick and fast, so there will be plenty of opportunity to check out the software on your mates' phones, soon enough. Nokia also gives away its by all accounts excellent navigation software on smartphones.

This is a pincer movement on satnav makers such as TomTom. It also means that there will be no room for paid-for parking apps on Android or Nokia Ovi marketplaces, in contrast with the iPhone.

Link: Google Maps Navigation (Beta)

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