Google updates Android Navigation app to allow for walking

Google’s turn-by-turn GPS software for Android has been updated with a feature that you don’t see all that often in GPS programs: walking directions.

For those times when you’re not behind the wheel of the car, now you can have all the same benefits of the GPS program as it tracks your every movement and tells you where to turn.

The functionality will be nearly identical to the existing Navigation app on Android, except it will of course pull from Google Maps’ walking directions instead of the driving version. This means stuff like one-way streets, parks, and pedestrian walkways is calculated into the navigable landscape.

Users will also be able to opt for a satellite view of the map as they walk down the streets, instead of the standard map view used in the car/driving version of Navigation. Another feature for walking users is the phone will vibrate when you need to take a turn.

In a blog post announcing the update, Google cautions, “Use good judgment about routes that can’t be walked.” In rare instances, Google’s walking directions place users on streets that have no sidewalks or ask them to cross an intersection that is only accessible by cars. Of course, it’s Google, and everything is in beta mode and carries around the appropriate warnings.

Anyone running Android 1.6 or later, which should be the vast majority of all Android users, will be prompted for the update to Google Maps.