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Google has announced that its free turn-by-turn navigation application is now available in Australia. This means that Android smartphone owners can now get voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation without having to purchase a dedicated GPS.

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Google’s Product Manager, Andrew Foster, said in a blog post today that Google Maps Navigation allows a user to use their Android smartphone to guide you to a destination without having to print out directions in advance.

“Some of you may have already taken advantage of driving directions in Google Maps for Mobile. Google Maps Navigation builds on that by combining the best of Google Maps for mobile, Google Search, and a host of unique capabilities only available on smartphones, like GPS, compass, text-to-speech technology, a permanent Internet connection, and the ability to search by voice,” said Foster.

Some of the features found on Google Maps Navigation include: Google Search/ Voice Search, access to satellite views and Street View, points-of-interest, traffic updates and synchronisation to Google Maps on a desktop.

This service is also available to users who want to explore destinations on foot.

“Your phone will vibrate when you need to make a turn. You can even turn off voice guidance and just use these notifications while soaking in the sights and sounds around you. Use it like a virtual compass with satellite imagery to look ahead or to help pick out landmarks along the way,” added Foster.

Google Maps Navigation is available for smartphones running Android 1.6 and later in both Australia and New Zealand on the Android Market for free.

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