Monday, March 7, 2011

Updated Google Maps Navigation App Avoids Traffic

GPS systems that hook into your car can be very helpful most of the time, but what do you do when your GPS takes you on a route straight into the middle of a traffic jam? A new update to Google’s navigation app now allows you to avoid that mess though.

In a blog post on Monday, March 7, Google said that its Google Maps Navigation for Android phones will now automatically route you away from and around all traffic issues. Before the latest update, the Google app would simply choose the fastest route without any consideration of the traffic conditions at the time. It did feature the option of choosing the shortest route or the route that used the highway instead of side roads.

"Starting today, our routing algorithms will also apply our knowledge of current and historical traffic to select the fastest route from those alternates," wrote Roy Williams, a software engineer with the Google Maps team. "That means that Navigation will automatically guide you along the best route, given the current traffic conditions."

Google went on to say that they could not necessarily guarantee a faster route with the new updated Google Maps Navigation, but they said "it will always try to get you where you're going as fast as possible."

The new and improved app from Google is now available in North America and Europe.

It was first released in 2009 as a part of the Android 2.0-powered Motorola Droid. It was the very first free GPS app that featured voice prompts. Later on, a version of the app was created for Android 1.6 devices as well. The Google Maps app is available via the Android Market.

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