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Google launches maps navigation service, traffic info in India

Google India has launched maps navigation service in India. Additionally it has also launched live traffic information in the map service, which will be available in six Indian cities and their surrounding suburbs namely, Bengaluru, Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad. The development was announced in Google's official blog by Darren Baker, product manager, Google Maps and Suren Ruhela, senior program Manager, Google Maps.

Google Maps Navigation comes for free and can be downloaded from Google Play, its app store. It is accessible to any smartphone user having Android 2.2 or later updates. Live traffic information will be visible on both the mobile and desktop versions of Google Maps. The app does require an Internet connection and users are responsible for any mobile data charges they incur while using the app.

Google Maps Navigation aims to take advantage of mobile Internet connection and Google's comprehensive map data to help users plan journeys. In India, users will have access to information about any of the thousands of cities, towns, roads, and points of interest that have been mapped by users in Google Map Maker. The phone will announce upcoming directions to you as you move along your route and it will use Indian accent if you've selected the Indian English locale on in your phone settings.

There is no separate app — it's already available directly in the Android app launcher and in the Google Maps interface for users who have Google Maps for Mobile installed on their Android smartphone. (Just keep an eye out for the blue arrow, which will always point you toward navigation.) Also Google Maps Navigation takes advantage of Google's search expertise to find the places you care about. You can type (or even speak) the name or address of your favourite destination into the app and trust that Google will correct your spelling and get you the right result. Finally, since your Android smartphone always has access to Google's most up-to-date map data, there's never a need for you to work through a cumbersome manual upgrade process.

On the other hand, Google's traffic data is shown in a simple and readable colour scheme red for significant congestion, yellow for minor slow-downs, and green for free-flowing traffic to help one analyse the traffic en route with a quick glance. One can view live traffic by enabling the traffic layer on maps.google.co.in or in the Google Maps app on smartphones or by visiting google.co.in and entering a query like 'traffic in Hyderabad'. (If you're using maps.google.co.in in a desktop browser, Google Maps even allows you to check traffic conditions for a particular day and time.

The services are bound to compete with MapMyIndia which recently launched CarPad. Nokia (post Navteq acquisition completion) too launched live traffic updates in Mumbai and Delhi and TomTom partnered with HTC to power HTC Locations App for HTC smartphones in India.

(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)

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