Google to release free GPS turn-by-turn navigation app, TomTom/Garmin stock plummets

Well, we knew Google would do this sooner or later. The company has announced it would begin to offer free GPS turn-by-turn navigation with its new and free Google Maps Navigation application.

The application will be initially available only in the United States and with support for devices running Android 2.0 or higher (see the second embedded video below to learn more about Android 2.0).

Google Maps Navigation supports voice search, satellite view, 3D view, traffic information, automatic rerouting, among many other features you would find on premium GPS devices.

The new Motorola Droid handset will be the first phone to support the new app. The app will later be released on most other popular mobile platforms including the iPhone and the BlackBerry.

The free navigation app from Google is essentially a perfect free substitute to the other standalone GPS units produced by Garmin and TomTom, among others. The news of the release of Google Maps Navigation sent the stocks of standalone GPS device makers plummeting up to 20-percent following the news. The Garmin stock dropped about $10 per share to $30, while the TomTom stock lost about half its value and is now trading at about $6.50 per share.

To really make this app perfect, the only thing Google now needs to do is let users download at least parts of a map so that people can use the GPS features on supported devices without requiring a cellphone signal. That would prove most useful to travelers who would use the feature on their phone without having to bear the excessive data costs imposed by telecoms while roaming.

The question now remains, what will companies like TomTom do to up their value proposition? What about the mobile iPhone app TomTom offers? We can surely expect TomTom to lower the price of the app substantially once Google Maps Navigation becomes available for the iPhone.

Google has also made a potentially very useful enhancement to Google Maps. You can now search for rental listings effortlessly in the app by simply turning on Real Estate layer via the ‘More’ button.


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Murad is an engineering graduate from Centennial college in Toronto, Canada. Write to murad@business2press.com
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  • dwconcepts

    There is a basic Google Maps app on my iPhone. I hope Google is planning to update the app for the iPhone too. I also have a GPS. All of the devices have some issues, so they might as will be free. Sorry TomTom….

  • http://business2press.com Hercules K

    what do you think TomTom is gonna do now? is there must they can do??

  • http://www.dwconcepts.net Ryan Teribery

    competition is always good for the consumer. They better figure our how to make $99 TomTom that will beat the iPhone/Droid/etc…

  • http://twitter.com/LorenzoSampson Lorenzo Sampson

    when is turn-by-turn navigation feature ability expected to hit blackberry? i have a 9700 bold by tmobile with 3g/gps. i primarily get around chicago with mass transit and google has been great with that for years. turn-by-turn would be GREAT for times when im in a car and neither of us know where where going (often enough).

  • http://twitter.com/LorenzoSampson Lorenzo Sampson

    when is turn-by-turn navigation feature ability expected to hit blackberry? i have a 9700 bold by tmobile with 3g/gps. i primarily get around chicago with mass transit and google has been great with that for years. turn-by-turn would be GREAT for times when im in a car and neither of us know where where going (often enough).

  • http://www.gpscardvd.com cardvdgps

    Google Maps Navigation supports voice search, satellite view, 3D view, traffic information, automatic rerouting, among many other features you would find on premium GPS devices.

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