Google Maps Navigation Now Available in Canada

by Gaurav Kheterpal on June 15, 2010

Last week, Google announced that the launch of its Maps Navigation service in Canada and most of mainland Europe. The Google Maps Navigation service was initially launched in U.S. in October 2009 and was later extended to U.K. and Ireland in April. As in other countries, the service is available for free for Canadian Android (1.6 or higher) users.

The service has also been launched in the following European nations – Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland. The service offers turn-by-turn voice guidance in multiple languages including French, German, Italian, and Spanish. The service also provides Satellite Maps, Street View, Congestion Information and POI search.

Google Maps Navigation service works over your phone’s data connection or using Google’s services. The initial version supported only Android 2.0 or above devices but Google quickly realized that a majority of users are still running older versions and offered a service which works with Android 1.6 or above.

GPS is a hotly contested segment with several players choosing to offer free turn-by-turn navigation services. Earlier this year, Nokia announced that it will offer the Ovi Maps service for free. The Ovi Maps service offers free navigation service in 74 countries and 46 languages. To promote the service, Nokia even offers free in-car holders and in-car chargers with popular GPS-enabled models such as N97, X6 and 5800 XpressMusic.

Free navigation services are putting pressure on pure-play GPS solution providers like TeleNav which offer paid solutions. While the bigger players like Google and Nokia can afford to market their navigation solutions for free keeping long term benefits in mind, niche players like TeleNav do not have such luxury and are faced with a daunting task of surviving in this premium navigation segment. As a result, TeleNav charges a monthly fee ranging from $7 to $10 per month, depending on the carrier. TeleNav defends its paid service and claims that the GPS technology used by Google and Nokia is far from perfect. As a result of increasing competition, TeleNav is now looking for alternative revenue sources and has recently started offering GPS-enabled mobile workforce management software to companies.

The Google Maps Navigation service is available for download via Android Market. Have you used the Google Maps Navigation Service till now? If so, did you like it? I’ll be glad to hear from you.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca >. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com > by: RSS>, Twitter >, Identi.ca >, or Friendfeed >

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