Google Maps: Navigation Voice

wnylibrarian's picture

I don’t think there are many people that would make this adjustment, but I wanted to pass it along as an oddity that I recently discovered on Android Oreo (I don’t know if this is true on other flavors of Android). It isn’t anything Earth shattering, and I doubt if many would come across it.


Recently I’ve been going back and forth a lot between Google Maps and Waze. Trying the different settings, adjusting options, and evaluating what seems to work best. Now Google Maps vs. Waze (even though Google owns Waze) is the subject of another comparison for another time, but in the course of bouncing back and forth I discovered something odd when it comes to the navigation voice speaking street names in Google Maps. (This does not apply to Waze as they have their own navigation voices within the app.)


In Google Maps [settings > Navigation settings > Voice] a user would find only the English (US) has an option to announce street names for turn by turn directions. Now occasionally for variety and for testing I’ll change the voice, and I recently changed it to English (UK) for a more seductive different voice than the default for a change of pace.



Sure enough, once I made that change the English (UK) voice told me only to turn left, turn right, etc. There was no “Turn right on Jones street,” it was simply “turn right.”



I then, however, made a different change. I set the navigation voice back to English (US) to get the street names announced. Under Android [Oreo settings > System > Languages, input & gestures > Languages] I added English (UK) in addition to English (US).


Guess what? I now have street names in English (UK) announced in my turn by turn navigational directions. So when the Google Settings state that you can only have street names announced under the maps settings menu you should then go to your phone settings and adjust the language input there.


At the end of the day I realize this isn’t a big deal, and many users just want to avoid traffic jams and just get the proper directions. That’s the most important aspect of using a navigation app. However, I found the little quirk or “life hack” an interesting work around as I fiddled with evaluating different features.


Eventually I will post a comparison with Google Maps vs. Waze. Each have their own features on what they do best, and each have drawbacks the other excludes. For now though I have named my Google (UK) assistant Moneypenny, and she has steered me clear of a few traffic jams on the highway already.


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