Google Maps Navigation coming to Android 2.0

I’ve been saying for a while that I think Android will overtake iPhone in 2010, and recent news seems to be pointing that direction.  First you have the impressive-looking Verizon Droid, which comes out in early November.  By all accounts it will be an awesome device.  It will be the first phone running the Android 2.0 operating system.  Now Google has sweetened the deal even more.

Today they announced that Android 2.0 devices (starting with the Droid) will come with Google Maps Navigation.  This is similar to TomTom and other devices, but with a few big advantages.  The main one, of course, is that it’s free.

Not only that, but it has some cool features:

  • POI and road data loaded on the fly.  Always up-to-date, no need to run “updates”.
  • Search in plain English.  Don’t type the address (unless you want to).  Just type the name of your destination and go.
  • Search by voice
  • Traffic view.  They’ve integrated the traffic data, which makes obvious sense.
  • Search along route.  I’ve always wanted a feature like this on my Garmin.  Very cool
  • Satellite view.  I’ve always wanted this, too.  It’s weird on most GPS devices when you’re in a parking lot — it’s just like you’re in a field.  This will help.
  • Street View.  This is slick.  To get a preview of what your next turn looks like, just double-tap the map and it’ll zoom you in there to take a peek.

All in all, this sounds pretty sweet.  Not only does it sound like possibly the best GPS software out there, it doesn’t cost a thing.  Being Android-only will certainly hurt it in the short-term, but long-term it will provide a big boost.

Will they ever bring this software to the iPhone?  I’m sure they’d love to, but I doubt Apple will allow it.   Time will tell.  Check out the video below for a bit more info:

Google creates a more generic “Hurricane Season 2008″ layer

Either Google was listening to our suggestion, or it was just pretty obvious — they’ve replaced the “Gustav” layer with a more genric “Hurricane Season 2008″ layer, under which they list individual layers.

The data isn’t overly comprehensive.  It’s essentially just a forecast track for each storm and any advisories that have been put out for it.  As Google points out (as we did, as well as Google Earth Blog), these tools work very well in conjunction with the “Clouds” and “Radar” layers.

I’m hoping they’ll continue to add more information to this layer.  Some other ideas include:

  • Alternate projected paths
  • Historical track for the storm
  • Radar data in the oceans (not just in the US)
  • Related webcams, as they did with Gustav
There’s a lot more that could be done, but in any case this layer is a great new addition.

Google to get imagery from new GeoEye satellite

In just over five days, GeoEye is launching a new satellite and Google will be the exclusive online source for the imagery.  Details of the agreement weren’t disclosed.

The GeoEye-1 satellite will be able to capture imagery at a suberb detail level of 41 centimeters, though Google will have to convert to 50cm quality to comply with US laws.  The satellite will be able to capture imagery equivilent to the size of New Mexico each day, though I don’t know if that will lead to larger or more frequent updates from Google.

As a cool side bonus, the Google logo is on the side of the rocket!  Check out the pics below.

Also, a brief clarification about Google’s affiliation with GeoEye was posted on Wired earlier today:

Google is interested in collecting the highest quality commercial satellite imagery available and as a symbol of this commitment has agreed to put the company logo on the first stage of the GeoEye, Inc. launch vehicle. Google Maps and Google Earth already include imagery from GeoEye. Google does not have any direct or indirect financial interest in the satellite or in GeoEye, and did not pay any fee to place its logo on the launch vehicle.