Google Gives Android Walking Directions

Google has offered navigation and walking directions via its Google Maps for mobile, but now, the two are being combined into a new service called Walking Navigation (beta). Walking Navigation is available through Google Maps for mobile 4.5 on Android. With Walking Navigation, you'll be able to use GPS navigation alongside walking directions. Because the foot-based navigation instructions can utilize pedestrian pathways, they can also be more direct than driving routes.

Because you'll be on your feet rather than in a car, Google has made a few changes to navigation. For example, the phone will vibrate when you need to make a turn. You can also turn off voice guidance. For help in orienting yourself, the map will rotate as you turn the phone.

While navigating, Google's new Street View on Google Maps can give you a sneak peek at where you're going. Similar to Street View smart navigation on your computer, Street View on Google Maps lets you drag Pegman from the corner, highlight where you want to go, and more. In order to take advantage of this functionality, you'll need to download an update for the "Street View on Google Maps” app in Android Market separately from Google Maps.

Finally, Google has one more new addition: You'll now find the new Google Maps search bar at the top of the map. This search bar will let you search, open Places, find yourself on the map using the My Location feature, and more.

As is the case with many new Google products, Walking Navigation is currently in beta. Google Maps for mobile 4.5 and Street View smart navigation are currently available for Android 1.6+.