Google Maps navigation for Android and iOS now in Kenya

In Kenya, phone navigation is still developing since not all locations have been mapped and fed into the Google GPS system. AFP

Starting Thursday, Kenyans using phones running on android and iOS (i-phones) can drive to unfamiliar destinations guided by their handsets.

Technology company Google now says Google Maps navigation services is available in Kenya for phones running Android 2.2 (and above) and iOS 5.1 (and above).

Google Maps Navigation (Beta) is an Internet-connected GPS navigation system that provides turn-by-turn voice driving directions as a feature of Google Maps for mobile.

The solution uses phone Internet connection to give the latest maps and driving directions with a free application.

The turn-by-turn, voice-guided navigation means you no longer have to look at your phone screen to follow the route, you can simply listen for indications.

In addition to offering address search, the Google Maps Navigation allows users to search for locations by their business names.

You can just say “Nation Centre” or “State House” and the Navigation will provide directions to the requested destination.

With this new solution, there is no need to know the address of your destination.

Misspelled queries are corrected, and ambiguous queries return multiple results so the user can choose the right one. It is just like when you search on Google Maps.

To get Google Maps Navigation (Beta), you only need to search for and download the newest release of 'Google Maps' in Google Play or the Apple App Store.

The Navigation feature brings helpful features including identifying landmarks along the route such as petrol stations, restaurants and parking areas.

Since it allows users to search for their locations through a voice recognition, meaning driving to unfamiliar destinations has been made easier.

Better still, users will not be required to purchase map upgrades or manually update their devices since the Google’s navigation tool is regularly updated with the most recent data from Google Maps.

Not new in Kenya

Phone navigation is not new in Kenya and other smartphone users have been accessing the service. The level to which one can access the navigation maps depends on the deal entered with Google.

In Kenya, phone navigation is still developing since not all locations have been mapped and fed into the Google GPS system.

“Being connected to the Internet means you're always using the latest data from Google Maps. You never need to buy map upgrades or manually update your device. Where traffic data is available, Navigation can even automatically route you around bad traffic,” says Google in a statement.

The feature comes free with supported smartphones just like the rest of Google Maps.

However users would pay for Internet connectivity even if the application is free. The cost depends on the data plan offered by the mobile service providers.