Wow, just wow. Not even 24 hours has gone by and the Google Maps with turn-by-turn directions for Android devices rumor has become official. As suspected this will be a free app and will be available when Android 2.0 launches sometime next month.
The feature set is robust to say the least and will easily rival, if not eclipse previous GPS applications and even some stand alone GPS devices. My favorite is that ability to view ‘street view’ before the turn such that you can view landmarks before you change direction. Much like most stand alone GPS devices, Google Maps Navigation offers voice guidance, turn-by-turn directions, 3D view and the ability to search by point of interest instead of just address. And they’ve also added Google Voice Search. There a few vids of the app after the ‘leap’, so be sure to check those out.
Right now the app is advert free, but given Google’s model I’d expect them to start plugging those in as we move closer to a nonbeta version. So for instance, you’re taking a trip to San Francisco from LA. You might see ads for food stops, gas stations and such. More local routes might show you coffee shops or stores that relate to your previous search history, and so forth.
Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll see this version of maps appears on the iPhone anytime soon, if ever. This would supplant any paid app in the app store and cause Apple to lose out on potential earnings, something they seem to have a problem with.