Kenyans can now tell directions through their handsets following the launch of a voice-guided navigation system by Google. Google Thursday announced that Google Maps Navigation would be available in nine African countries including Kenya, Ghana, Senegal and Ivory Coast. The voice application will reduce the use of hardcopy maps or reading phone screens to get direction.After uploading the app, all that one needs to do is say, for example, “Njuguna’s Waiyaki Way” and the navigation tool will provide location.
Revenue generation:The navigation tool popularly known as Beta is an Internet GPS-based satellite system that provides location and time in all weather conditions, meaning that users must have Internet access.The Internet search engine which primary makes its revenue by carrying adverts said the initiative will enable it to draw more Internet users which in turn are expected to click on the adverts and generate revenue. Dorothy Ooko, the firm’s communications and public affairs manager for East & Francophone Africa, said the service, which automatically updates, is available for free to Android owners and i-Phone users.“For us, the main reason is to see more people use the Internet and more businesses post their locations on the Google Map,” said Ms Ooko. “Google navigation tool is regularly updated with the most recent data from Google Maps, which means users, will not be required to purchase map upgrades or manually update their devices,” Google said in a statement.To get Beta, one needs to search for and download the newest release of ‘Google Maps’ in Google Play or the Apple App Store.
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Identify landmarks:The app has features that can identify landmarks such as petrol stations, restaurants and parking areas .In Kenya, not all places have been mapped and fed onto the Google GPS system, meaning that the navigation system can only provide locations to areas covered.Google has added advanced features such as voice-guided, turn-by-turn navigation to its Maps in four African countries, including Kenya, Ghana, Senegal and Ivory Coast. The new features works like a GPS navigation system which provides turn-by-turn voice guidance and automatic re-routing and also gives access to information about any of the thousands of cities, towns, roads, and points of interest that have been mapped by users in Google Map Maker. Google Maps Navigation (Beta) is accessible to any smartphone user running Android 2.2+, is available on the Google Play and requires no downloads or updates whatsoever. If you use an iOS 5.1+ device, it is also available in the App Store in those African countries, except Ivory Coast.