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Google's Launch of Navigation and Traffic Maps in India Coincides with Domestic Launch of Affordable Android Phone

BY Lisa Goldman | Thursday, September 6 2012

Google Maps has launched voice-guided navigation and live traffic reports for India. The apps are now available to Android users, with voice-guided directions available everywhere and live traffic reports available in the cities of Bengaluru, Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad. According to the Google blog, voice directions will be available only in English, but in a "friendly and familiar Indian accent."

The Hindu seems quite happy to announce the launch of Google map's navigation and traffic report services in India, but throws some cold water on the joy with this bit:

But here’s the catch: this live feed, used by Google’s algorithms to predict traffic situations, is based on information gathered from Android phones that may be travelling along that particular route. Given the low smartphone penetration in India and that getting data from these phones will also require Android users to give permission to share their GPS data, this information may not be as ‘reliable’ or ‘accurate’ as Google proposes.

India's middle class numbers about 300 million. It is now poised to overtake China as the world's fastest growing car market. Mobile phone penetration is about 72 percent, with the government currently considering a plan to distribute simple phones to impoverished Indians because they have proven to be an effective means of raising them out of penury.

But what about smart phones? Here, the Hindu might not have the latest information. According to the Mobile Indian, Micromax, a domestic phone manufacturing company, announced today (September 6) the release of a cheap Android phone, the Micromax A25 Smarty, which will "offer very snappy performance and will even offer navigation thanks to Google maps ability to work through the cell site information."

Micromax's announcement of the cheap Android launch comes one day after Google announced the launch of mobile navigation in India.