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Android's Best Feature Just Got Better

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It can be said that driving in Jersey City is worse than in Manhattan.

Motoring around the Big Apple is akin to going to the dentist: It's a means to an end, but very rarely will things go smoothly. During any rush hour commute, getting stuck on the FDR or in the Midtown Tunnel is unavoidable. You may have shortcuts at your disposal, but more likely than not, those will be jammed, too.

In other words, it's going to be terrible, but you know what you're getting into when you get behind the wheel.

Meanwhile in Jersey City, it's more of a gamble in finding a deserted pathway to your destination. There are ways around Holland Tunnel traffic and the unending nightmare that is Summit Ave. -- but it's up to the people in the car to know and navigate to those routes without fail.

And I've got to say, even Google Maps Navigation struggles through Jersey City.

My girlfriend and I have had our share of in-car squabbles in finding the quickest route -- accessible only after the initial set of directions are established. If we neglect to check the quicker routes on my Motorola Droid or her Droid Incredible, we could get stuck on Route 7 for hours and chalk it up to fate.

But in Google Maps Navigation's defense, Jersey City's layout can take a lion's share of the blame. After all, anywhere else we've used the app, it's been a friggin' godsend. And to think that the software is free, in my opinion, it truly is Android's greatest feature and one where the iPhone can't come close.

And now, with a recent update, Google Maps Navigation was just made better. No longer is traffic taken into account only if the user remembers to select it. The app now provides the quickest route based on traffic automatically.

Google Maps software engineer Roy Williams explains on the Official Google Blog:

"You don't have to do anything to be routed around traffic; just start Navigation like you normally would, either from the Navigation app or from within Google Maps. Before today, Navigation would choose whichever route was fastest, without taking current traffic conditions into account. It would also generate additional alternate directions, such as the shortest route or one that uses highways instead of side roads. Starting today, our routing algorithms will also apply our knowledge of current and historical traffic to select the fastest route from those alternates. That means that Navigation will automatically guide you along the best route given the current traffic conditions."

And as regular users of Google's Traffic setting, we can attest that the feature is extremely accurate -- with traffic congestion changing as soon as we drive to the corresponding point on the map. So now that Google Maps implements that information into the app at the top, there's really no need to pay ANYTHING for another GPS device.

Looks like driving in Jersey City just got a little more tolerable.
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