Google smashes Garmin, TomTom with Google Maps Navigation for Android 2.0 and other interesting tidbits

by Justin on October 28, 2009

google maps navigation Google smashes Garmin, TomTom with Google Maps Navigation for Android 2.0 and other interesting tidbitsToday was a huge today in the LBS industry. With the release of Google Maps Navigation for Android 2.0 (Verizon’s Motorola Droid (PR) will be the first phone to run the new OS), the PND industry was arguably changed forever. In fact, share prices for both Garmin and TomTom absolutely plummeted. I’m still pretty busy with work, among other things, but this development is just too important not to point out.  Here’s a rundown of must-read links for today:

Google Maps Navigation: we all know that voice-guided, turn-by-turn directions aren’t anything new, but when it comes from Google and is not paired to any hardware from Garmin et al., it’s big. Especially when the platform is geared towards mobile phones, long said to be the Grim Reaper in the eventual death of the PND, and costs nothing. Connected to the internet, Google Maps Navigation provides up-to-date map and business data provided by Google (in the United States at least which is where the app is initially launching), search by voice, search along route, 3D views, and automatic rerouting. Visual overlays available include traffic view, Street View and satellite view. Whether or not traffic data and other features typically under the thumb of third party mapping data providers will be any good remains to be seen. Check out the video below for a demo and Techmeme for a HUGE amount of coverage from earlier today.

Actually, just flipping through some of the coverage as I write this, I’ve come across a money quote from Erick Schonfeld from Techcrunch writing about the new app (all emphasis mine):

Navigation apps are a key category for mobile phones, and the iPhone is for once at a disadvantage here. Even the paid navigation apps in the iTunes store can’t compete because Google’s new navigation app is an extension (albeit a customized one) of its search engine. When a navigation app becomes an interface to Google’s massive search engine, it begins to deliver things that GPS app developers like Garmin and TomTom will never be able to build (search along a route, natural language search).

And now for other links that don’t seem nearly as important…

Brightkite 2.0 hits the App Store for the iPhone.

MSN Direct will officially shut down in 2012. Users of the GPS info service can terminate their subscriptions anytime before January 1 of the end year and receive a refund for any unused time left. (via gizmodo)

TomTom’s iPhone app and car kit may just be compatible with the iPod Touch (as was originally rumored in the beginning) after all-in the future. (via gps review)

Fast Company mag has named the SpotLight GPS Pet Locator, developed by Positioning Animals Worldwide, Inc. (PAW, get it?), the #1 Location Tech product for pets in its November issue. (via PR, that’s a PDF link)

How to enable standalone GPS on the CDMA Palm Pre. (via precentral)

Is there any other interesting stuff I missed in the past few days? Please let us know in the comments!

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