Google at work on free navigation app?

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Google is reportedly in development on a free mobile navigation app to rival premium efforts from smaller location-based service providers. According to Forbes,  multiple navigation service firms say they believe Google is developing its own turn-by-turn, voice-guided service, a product rumored since the web services giant first expanded its Maps program to the platform--while most navigation app providers charge $5 or $10 per month to subscribe to their service, speculation suggests a Google app would follow the firm's familiar free, advertiser-supported model, noting ads would be particularly valuable given that the software could target the user's precise location and destination. Google is already running ads in Apple's iPhone map application, which it helped create.

The recent growth of Google's Android mobile operating system is further fueling the belief that a navigation app is imminent. "Google has clearly been investing in mapping," said Steve Andler, vice president of marketing with mobile navigation firm Networks in Motion, in an interview with Forbes. "Carriers totally control what's on these devices. But if Google controls the operating system, the carriers won't be able to get rid of its services, including a navigation app." A Google spokesperson said that consumers frequently petition the company to add navigation to Google Maps, but declined to comment on future products.

For more on the Google navigation app speculation:
- read this Forbes article

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