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OK Google: How about finally adding some hands-free voice support to Maps?

Google Maps is getting a new feature that should keep your hands off your phone and on the wheel. The latest version of Maps adds extra support for hands-free voice commands, essentially allowing you to ask Google to do things like find nearby gas stations or reroute to avoid highways.

The feature is long overdue for Maps — while the Android operating system has long allowed for voice controls, Maps has lacked the features. Now, however, it will respond to “OK Google” voice commands at any time, which should make interacting with the app while driving far safer.

To enable the new feature, you simply need to head to the Settings menu in Maps, then hit the “OK Google detection” button. Then you’ll be able to enable it “While driving.” If you don’t see the option just yet, sit tight, you should get it in an update to Maps in the near future — Google doesn’t push updates to everyone at the same time.

Along with the update, Google has also published a list of commands that you can ask Maps — like “mute voice guidance,” “show traffic,” and more. The feature extends beyond Maps, too — you can use OK Google voice commands to start playing music or ask what the weather is like on any particular day.

It’s likely we’ll see more of this kind of integration as time goes on — Google is set to roll out Google Assistant more widely across Android in the near future, and Google’s self-built apps will most likely follow suit. Like with Google Now, you’ll be able to ask Assistant to do things like send messages in Hangouts and Allo, navigate to a location, and so on.

Christian de Looper
Christian’s interest in technology began as a child in Australia, when he stumbled upon a computer at a garage sale that he…
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