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Thoughts on Google Navigation.

Discussion in 'Android Applications' started by ronimous, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. ronimous
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    ronimous New Member

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    Having had my Droid a few days now and after a mini road trip today, I thought I'd share some initial thoughts on using the Droid as a GPS Navigator. I've been a heavy Garmin user over the last several years and have depending on it for my job.

    The dock is cool, but somewhat limited. The Droid looks great in it and it holds firmly to the windshield, though it does vibrate some, not as rock solid as the Garmin mount. I hate that it doesn't have a built in power jack. Connecting a seperate power cable ruins the look and makes it more difficult to take in and out.

    The built in GPS eats your battery for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In an hour drive using just the battery, I was nearly depleted when I reached my destination. The external power cord is a must, even though it makes docking the Droid a pain.

    The software is the best I've seen outside of Garmin. It has it's weak points, which I will get to in a bit, but it's clean, bright and easy to use. I love the voice search function. My Droid has yet to misunderstand me, and has nailed my search requests every time. It's a bit of a lot of menu searching to get it to start navigating, but once you're on your way it'll get you where you need to go, and even re-route you if you make a wrong turn. The option to use satellite images is awesome, I just wish there was a way to have it on by default, rather than to have to go in and turn the layer on every time. The street view is a function I couldn't figure out how to use. The only time it popped on was when I reached my destination and a still photograph came up and stayed. I don't care for the tracking of the arrow that represents your vehicle, it jumps like a frog along the road. Kind of annoying. Wish it were smooth like the Garmin. I couldn't find an option to tell you what time you will arrive at your destination, or an option to tell you your current speed. Both standard on most Garmins. The spoken directions and street names is a nice touch, cheaper GPS units don't have that.

    The GPS always seemed to be just a bit off. When I put in my home address it showed it around the corner, good for getting to a general area, but not precise enough for my needs. Also, when travelling through a rural area where Verizon's signal is weak, the GPS goes away. I drove on some missing roads as well.

    I also like to fiddle with my phone at stoplights, in the drive through, and other times when the car isn't moving. When it's all buttoned up in the dock and navigating, I can't get it down and play with it like I want. A minor issue, but something I noticed today.

    I feel like I'm focusing on the negatives a little too much, but it's only with the thought of making this the best navigator on the market. It's a good start, I love it and I'll use it. It won't replace my Garmin 765T just yet, but with a few tweaks I can see it becoming my primary GPS unit.
  2. searayman
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    searayman New Member

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    great first thoughts, I am glad you posted these cause not many have shared their opinions on Google navigator yet. I know I cant wait to try mine out!
  3. Dark-V
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    Dark-V New Member

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    Background: On my old Storm I used the Google maps all the time as that's my primary means of directions. Other people that have used GPS systems so they never liked the whole "north is up, south is down" because the GPS would rotate the map. I personally am old school so Google Maps worked VERY well for me. I also liked to look ahead at the turns and see what lies ahead. Not waiting for the turn.

    Google Navigation combines all of this into a great product!

    I used the Navigator on the way home after work yesterday. Google's route was slightly different than I normally go so I decided to see how the recalculating works. Oh my goodness! I missed the turn and instead of some GPS Nav systems where it stops for a bit and recalculates, the Droid almost instantly showed another route. I made it do this twice and it's quick.

    The voice on the other hand is a bit... "Stephen Hawking's Wife", but I can deal with it. I wonder if they'll let you put in other voices like a couple other GPS systems.

    Other than that I really love Google Maps and the Navigation just adds to it.
  4. wallstreet123456
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    wallstreet123456 New Member

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    How does the traffic feature work with it? Does it route you around traffic my my navigon does or does it just show there is traffic? Is there an option to avoid the next 10 miles of a route if you wanted to?

    Also if there is an update to navigation will we need to update it or does it do it automatically?
  5. Odysseus
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    Odysseus New Member

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    My main issues with it are, yup you need to have it plugged in. You can't turn off the talking as far as I can tell. There is no easy way to make calls while driving. It doesn't default to speaker phone while in the car dock.
  6. otaku
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    otaku New Member

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    My major issue with the navigation app is that it navigates me to/from my home address directly from an expressway near my house, as if I can just drive through the field behind my house and turn onto the expressway!

    I wish the street view of turns came up automatically as you approached an intersection.

    It's hard to see the "arrow" that represents the car, as it's blue and blends in with the blue line you follow on the map. This is especially true when you have satellite view turned on.

    I wish I could say "Navigate to John Doe" and have it check my contact list and then navigate to his address. This seems like such simple functionality, but if it's there I haven't been able to get it to work.

    I know Navigation and Google Maps are separate, but I wish I could have a "3D" view in maps like in Navigation and have it auto-center on my car so I could drive around and check out the map, without having to program in a destination. I love this about my Garmin.

    Other than that, it's all good, and the price is right.
  7. raphytaffy
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    raphytaffy New Member

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    Can't believe someone hasn't brought this up already, but maybe that just means I don't know how to do it: favorites! It would be nice for you to be able to add a location as a favorite instead of having to create a contact and then scrolling through your list of contacts when you want to navigate there. Other than that, love the app.
  8. texasPI
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    texasPI New Member

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    As far as not having the power source built into the dock, alot of dedicated nav units are the same way. I have a couple garmin nuvi units that are this way. I had a couple of older ones that DID have them built in but it seems they've moved away from this.

    So, its not a big deal considering...
  9. Odysseus
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    Odysseus New Member

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    Hold your finger down like you would to install a widget. Hit shortcut, than direction, from there you can put a destination in. Put them all into a folder so you aren't cluttering your screen.
  10. jaysnyder75
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    jaysnyder75 New Member

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    I have used a Garmin for some time now and decided to give navigation a try a couple days ago on my way home from work and it seemed to work well with one exception. I live on a one way street and it tried to tell me to drive down the street the wrong way. Hopefully these types of issues dont cause anyone any serious problems before they can be resolved
  11. raphytaffy
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    raphytaffy New Member

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    Where do I do this? I tried it on the map and it just gives me a location, no menu options. Tried it on the field for my end point and it just pops up edit text input method.
  12. Odysseus
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    Odysseus New Member

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    On your home screen. :)
  13. DroidMastar
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    DroidMastar New Member

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    You can do that... and essentially Google Maps and NAvigations are one in the same.

    I think the App is great and seeing that it is still beta, I think it will only get better, can't beat that it's free as apposed to VZNavigator on other phones which IMO sucks...
  14. raphytaffy
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    raphytaffy New Member

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    Durr! I was trying that before and didn't see any menus open up. Just realized it's because that home screen was full of apps. Thanks for the tip!
  15. DroidMastar
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    DroidMastar New Member

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  16. otaku
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    otaku New Member

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    Orlando, FL
    But how do you do what I asked for? In the Maps app, there is no "3D" view that I can find and it does not track me (ie, when I move off the map screen, the map screen does not move).

    I seem to remember on my BB the old Google Maps app had a "track me" function, but I can't find that in the Droid.
  17. DroidMastar
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    DroidMastar New Member

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    By 3D view I assumed you meant Satellite view where you can see the actual geographical view right?
    Maps>Press Menu Button>Layers>select satellite
    You should see the maps app in satelite view... if you don't see the big blue indicator light press menu button and press My location, this will center you over your location(lil blue indicator) and when you walk/drive it will move accordingly. :D

    Use Zoom as needed.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2009
  18. otaku
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    otaku New Member

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    In GPS parlance, "3D" view means being on an angle to the horizon so you really only see what's ahead of you. Think of what the default view on a Garmin is. This is not a top-down view like Google Maps allows. The Navigation app shows this 3D view, but from what I understand you cannot get the 3D view in maps (I think I saw a Google developer on a blog somewhere asked this question and his response was no).

    As far as tracking, I will try specifically selecting my location. I turn on the Latitudes layer and it centers on my current location, but I still "drive off" the map and the map never re-centers.
  19. BigTex71
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    BigTex71 New Member

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    I would like to see Google add your current speed and the current speed limit for the road you are on. That is one thing I truly miss from my Garmin.
  20. cpubugs
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    cpubugs New Member

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    In comparison to what I was using VZNavigator it has some greats and not so greats... But it is Beta, so hopefully they will adjust things and pay attention to requests. First, and maybe I am missing it is the lack of a "save" function, so I can save my home address or work address etc... 2nd the fact that the GPS function is Dependant on Cell signal is a bit distressing... Because to me I would assume that it's not GPS at all but tracked via Cell towers. Which leads to some discrepancies..
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