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At long last, Google Maps gets hands free navigation

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Google is finally updating its Maps application with a feature that has been at the top of user’s wish list for quite some time. The company has integrated Maps with “Ok Google” commands, meaning that users will no longer have to tap the Microphone icon on the application while asking it for directions.

After updating the Google Maps application, users will be able to say “Ok Google” and get the app to come up with directions to wherever they want to go. The feature is bound to come in handy and increase the application’s effectiveness as it will save the trouble of having to take a hand off the steering wheel to fumble with your mobile while driving.

There are a few perquisites to using the feature though. According to Google, to use the feature, you must

  • Be in the US and speak English.
  • Use an Android device.
  • Sign in to the same account on the Google Maps app and the Google app.

Which means the update is currently available only in the US and offers support only for English language. However, we can expect the company to eventually expand the feature to include other regions and languages as well. Another really cool thing that Google has packed in with the update is the ability to use Google’s voice apps to do other stuff besides just telling you directions — even when the maps interface is open. For example, you can ask the assistant to:

  • Call Mom.”
  • “Find gas stations.” or “Find restaurants.”
  • “Send a text to Larry.” or “Send an SMS to Sergey, I’m feeling lucky.”
  • “What’s the weather like?” or “How’s the weather in Seattle?”
  • “Play some jazz.” or “Play happy birthday on Google Play Music.”
  • “What’s the closest hotel?”
  • “When’s my next meeting?”
Interestingly, the feature may or may not be activated by default even after you download and install the update. In case it is the latter, you can turn it on by going into settings. Meanwhile, we leave you with a list of some commands you can use to make your travels easier.
  • “Mute.” or “Mute voice guidance.”
  • “Unmute.” or “Unmute voice guidance.”
  • “Show traffic.” or “Hide traffic.”
  • “Show satellite.” or “Hide satellite.”
  • “Navigate home.” or “Navigate to Starbucks.”
  • “Show route overview.” or “Show alternate routes.”
  • “What road is this?”
  • “What’s my next turn?”
  • “What’s my ETA?”
  • “How’s traffic ahead?” or “How’s traffic to home?”
  • “Avoid tolls.” or “Enable tolls.”
  • “Avoid highways.” or “Enable highways.”
  • “Avoid ferries.” or “Enable ferries.”
  • “Exit navigation.

You can also click here to go to the official post on the topic and know more.


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