Maybe it’s a British thing, but a lot of us seem reluctant to use voice control in the many ways it’s available to us. For instance, we never see anyone saying “Hey Google, what’s on my calendar?” or “what’s the weather like?” (maybe we all do it in secret) – but Google has just announced an integration that makes perfect sense even on these more reserved shores.
As of today, Google Maps works with Assistant in the UK, meaning you can say things like “Hey Google, take me to work” (which sadly doesn’t result in a helicopter appearing outside your door) and “Hey Google, take me to the nearest petrol station” to get directions.
Honestly, the “take me” phrasing is a bit weird because it implies Google will be doing the actual chauffeuring, which is obviously not the case. “Guide me to” would have made more sense, but it’s less natural. Because talking out loud to apps is so natural already.
Voice integration in Maps is going to be mega-handy for anyone using their phone to navigate while they drive – but it’s also likely to be a major blow to sat nav companies and apps.
Talking to Maps while you’re navigating automatically updates the destination, and you can still do other hands-free tasks like saying “Hey Google, text mum that I’m running late” and “Hey Google, play my driving playlist.”
Google Assistant for Maps goes live today on both iOS and Android (though as ever you might need to update your app to see it). It can also be turned off in the Google Maps settings if you don’t want it.
Photo by henry perks on Unsplash