If you’re like me, after first trying Android’s Google Maps with Navigation, the turn-by-turn thing, you imagined what life would be like if it did the 3D stuff but tailored for walking-around purposes. Hey buddy get pumped because Google has answered your fantasies with the latest update (4.5) of Google Maps for Android.

I field tested the sucker and basically, in addition to some general UI improvements with the rest of Maps, it’s like the regular Navigation except it uses the compass and gravity sensor thing to twist the satellite-layered map left and right and up and down based on how you’re holding the phone.

Like with regular Navigation you get your time estimate except thanks to some crazy advanced algorithms the remaining time prediction takes into account human walking speed, not cars and traffic, for maximum accurateness.

They also embedded some crazy advanced Pegman street viewing into this that I can only do justice by embedding a Youtube clip, as much as I’d prefer life without embedding youtube clips into my articles:

I recently wrote a wish list directed at Google, things I wish they’d deliver in addition to what other readers chimed in, worth a read. The walking around thing slipped my mind but now that I’ve got it on my phone I’m back to wondering what else there could possibly be that Google could deliver with regards to Google Maps Navigation. I don’t know, maybe Trapster integration?

To all you iPhoners, hang in there, things are warming up a little between Apple and Google with Apple loosening their restrictions on app approval, so who knows, you might get this without having to buy a phone with the generally superior platform. But don’t hold your breath.

Back to walking around while using a phone either for emailing, RSS and now navigating, watch out, don’t want to end up in this lady’s predicament (I’ve had a few really close calls).

Doug Simmons

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Biographical info.. hmm. I have a history of not being able to strike the balance between what is "safe" to put into these forms and what is, in my mind at least, funny. Can't do it.


  1. While walking around holding a large glass-screened cellphone in front of your face will probably never be practical, this updated Walking Navigation function for Google Maps turned out to actually be quite helpful over the weekend on a trip into Boston. I’m VERY unfamiliar with the city, but after visiting the New England Aquarium on Sunday, I decided to hoof it to a nearby museum(since parking fees are kinda painful). Anyway, I stopped to use my Nexus One to reorient myself about three or four times on a 1.5 mile walk, and it worked well enough. Not so well that I’d ever wanna rely on it continually while walking, though. That’d just be silly.

    Oh, and as for that Google wish list? I’d love to see them attempt to include hiking & boating directions into Maps. Besides stomping around in parks whenever I can, I enjoy kayaking & can’t help but feel that there’s some extra fun to be had if Android would like to try telling me where to paddle.

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