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Google Maps rolls out voice-guided navigation for smart phones

Better than a dedicated GPS unit? Or do the directions still have a way to go?

Google Maps rolled out cycling directions earlier this year in the UK, having been available in the USA for a couple of years, and now the internet giant has added including voice-guided, turn-by-turn navigation, right from your Android handset.

It's worth noting that the cycle directions are still in beta, which is just as well, as we've found some of the routes to be, er, interesting.

Sometimes it works; for example asking for a route between our Bath HQ and Bristol Temple Meads station takes you along the Bath-Bristol cycle path rather than the misery of the A4. That's thanks to Sustrans' involvement, informing Google of the location of the National Cycle Network.

Google Maps bike navigation also tries to route you around big hills, which might be a good thing, depending on how much of a masochist you are.

But many users have noted that the service gives poorer results than CycleStreets, the established route planner that gives a selection of routes with options for lower traffic or faster routes.

Anyway, back to the voice navigation. Smart phones often use wifi to triangulate position more accurately than by satellite alone, so some people may find it more accurate than a GPS system.

Have you used voice navigation on your smart phone? Let us know how you got on in the comments below.

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on

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