Google Maps Navigation adds live traffic re-routing

Free turn-by-turn app adds yet another TomTom-killing feature

Navigation

Google has today updated its hugely popular Navigation app for Android by adding real-time traffic information to your route

The free app will now automatically re-route drivers around both "current and historical traffic" in order to get you to your destination sooner.

The announcement is yet another bad sign for satnav manufacturers like TomTom and Garmin who have seen increasing numbers of drivers rely on their smartphone for directions.

Improvements

A post on the Google Mobile Blog reads: "You don't have to do anything to be routed around traffic; just start Navigation like you normally would, either from the Navigation app or from within Google Maps.

"Before today, Navigation would choose whichever route was fastest, without taking current traffic conditions into account. It would also generate additional alternate directions, such as the shortest route or one that uses highways instead of side roads.

"Starting today, our routing algorithms will also apply our knowledge of current and historical traffic to select the fastest route from those alternates. That means that Navigation will automatically guide you along the best route given the current traffic conditions."

ByeBye TomTom?

The new functionality continues Google's quest to save Android phone owners splashing out on expensive stand-alone satnav equipment by providing a free alternative on their handsets.

Since Navigation arrived on the Android Market last year, manufacturers have often pointed to live traffic information as the key reason to still purchase their products. What will they say now?

As a free app, is there any better value available on any product in the tech world at the moment? We don't think so.

The updated Google Maps Navigation app for Android is available to download now for North American and European Android owners now.