Google's Turn-by-turn Navigation Comes to More Countries

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Google has launched Maps Navigation, which includes free turn-by-turn voice guidance, in 11 new countries and also made it possible for French, German, Italian, and Spanish speakers to take advantage of its Search by voice feature, the company said Wednesday.

By downloading Google Maps Navigation version 4.2, users in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland can now get turn-by-turn voice guidance, as long as they have a smartphone with Android 1.6 and higher, according to a Google blog post.

Previously, turn-by-turn voice guidance worked in the U.K. and the U.S.

Google first added free turn-by-turn voice guidance to its smartphone operating system in October last year. The move has had some lasting effects on the navigation sector. For example, Nokia followed in Google's footsteps and announced free turn-by-turn voice guidance for Ovi Maps in January.

Voice has always been the most natural way to interact with a phone, according to Google. With Google's Search by voice users can say what they want to search for, instead of typing on their smartphone. The feature was developed for English, and then for Mandarin Chinese and Japanese. The ultimate goal is to bring Search by voice to speakers of all languages, according to the Google blog post that announced the new languages Wednesday.

In addition to working on Android-based smartphones, Search by voice can run on the iPhone, BlackBerry and Nokia's S60 phones, according to Google.

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