Can you think of any product you'd be happy to pay hundreds of dollars AND a monthly fee for if an equally good version was available for free? No? Then you can understand why the announcement of Google Maps Navigation is a bad thing for GPS makers like TomTom and Garmin. GMN, which is currently in beta, will feature turn-by-turn voice directions.
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And, like all Google products, it's going to be 100% free. This means that, in the very near future, you'll be able to get turn-by-turn navigation on your smartphone at no extra cost. The software will also feature 3D views, automatic routing, and voice direction input. This means that, on the fly, you'll be able to ask your phone to, say, direct you to a gas station that's along the route you're already taking.
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GMN will be connected to the Internet, which allows it to account for things like street closures and traffic. It also comes with the option of using satellite view in order to help you navigate complex directions and look for points of interest. So far, Google Maps Navigation sounds like an incredible tool. The fact that we'll be getting it for free almost seems wrong.