Google Maps gains a bunch of voice commands for hands-free navigation

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Google Maps on an Android phone is a great way to get from A to B without getting lost, but if you need to check details of your route or want to make a change to settings, you'll need to pull over to do so. Or at least that used to be the case. Google has just added a load of voice commands to the app.

Of course, having to pull over is an inconvenience, and trying to fiddle with your phone while driving is dangerous. With this in mind, the addition of a series of voice commands triggered by saying 'OK Google', is not entirely surprising, but it is also very welcome.

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You won’t need to wait for a new version of the Google Maps app to roll out, as Google is implementing the changes server-side. This does still mean that you may not be able to access the latest voice commands straight away, but the wait should be fairly short.

Introducing the latest update, Google Maps product manager Raghu Simha explains how to ensure you can take advantage of the voice commands:

To make sure you have things set up correctly, tap the overflow menu (the button with three dots), then tap "Settings", and finally, tap "'OK Google' detection". The "While driving" setting allows you to say "Ok Google" during navigation in Google Maps. If you'd like to do this anywhere on your device, you'll need to enable the "Always on" setting (on some devices, the setting is called "From any screen").

Google Maps did already support a very limited number of voice commands, but the latest update makes the list quite comprehensive. Here's the full selection of commands you have at your disposal:

  • "Mute." or "Mute voice guidance."
  • "Unmute." or "Unmute voice guidance."
  • "Show traffic." or "Hide traffic."
  • "Show satellite." or "Hide satellite."
  • "Navigate home." or "Navigate to Starbucks."
  • "Show route overview." or "Show alternate routes."
  • "What road is this?"
  • "What’s my next turn?"
  • "What's my ETA?"
  • "How's traffic ahead?" or "How's traffic to home?"
  • "Avoid tolls." or "Enable tolls."
  • "Avoid highways." or "Enable highways."
  • "Avoid ferries." or "Enable ferries."
  • "Exit navigation."
  • More commands you can say
  • "Call Mom."
  • "Find gas stations." or "Find restaurants."
  • "Send a text to Larry." or "Send an SMS to Sergey, I'm feeling lucky."
  • "What's the weather like?" or "How's the weather in Seattle?"
  • "Play some jazz." or "Play happy birthday on Google Play Music."
  • "What's the closest hotel?"
  • "When's my next meeting?"

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