Friday, October 8, 2010

Walking About With A Talking Android

Walking About With A Talking Android

1 Walking About With a Talking Android

I have long relied on spoken directions from Google Maps on the desktop. As I access more and more of my online world through my Android phone, Google's recent announcement of GMM4.5 enhanced with walking directions means that I now have superior functionality to what I have enjoyed at my desk --- but now with the added benefit of having it all in my pocket!

Inclusion of step-by-step walking directions on Android now allows me to specify a destination on my TalkBack enabledeyes-free Android device, and have these spoken to me as I walk. But wait, there's more!

We're launching a new member of our Eyes-Free family of programs for Android --- WalkyTalky that goes hand-in-hand with spoken walking directions from Google Maps to better navigate the physical world. In addition,application Intersection Explorer allows me to explore the layout of streets using touch before venturing out with WalkyTalky.

1.1 WalkyTalky

WalkyTalky is an Android application that speaks the address of nearby locations as you pass them. It also provides more direct access to the walking directions component of Google Maps. With WalkyTalky installed, you can:

  • Launch WalkyTalky to specify a destination,
  • Either specify the destination by address, or pick from favorites or recently visited locations,
  • And in addition to spoken walking directions,
  • Hear street addresses as you walk by.

These spoken updates, in conjunction with the walking directions that are spoken by Google Maps help me navigate the physical world as efficiently as I navigate the Internet.

1.2 Intersection Explorer

Often, I like exploring a neighborhood to learn the layout of the streets before actually venturing out with my trusty companion,Hubbell Labrador, and this is where Intersection Explorer comes into its own. Using this application, I can explore any neighborhood on Google Maps via touch exploration.

1.2.1 How It Works

  • Intersection Explorer starts off at the user's current location.
  • One can change the start position by entering an address, to do this, press menu and click on new location.
  • Once the map has loaded, touching the screen speaks the streets at the nearest intersection.
  • Moving one's finger along a compass direction, and then tracing a circle speaks each street at that intersection along with the associated compass direction.
  • Presence of streets is cued by a slight vibration as one traces the circle.
  • Lifting up the finger when on a street moves in that direction to the next intersection, speaks the distance moved, and finally speaks the newly arrived-at intersection.

1.3 Summary

Together, Intersection Explorer and WalkyTalky, in conjunction with Walking Directions from Google Maps brings a new level ofaccess to my physical world. I use these tools in conjunction with other Maps-based applications such as the Places Directory on Android --- this is another application from the Google Maps team that works fluently with TalkBack on Android to help me find nearby attractions or other locations of interest.

So next time you take your trusty Android out for a walk, make sure to give these new tools a spin --- you can report back on your experience via our Eyes-Free Group.

Applications WalkyTalky and Intersection Explorer can be downloaded from the Android Market.Share And Enjoy, and as usual, remember, The Best Is Yet To Come!

Author: T.V Raman

Date: 2010-09-09 Thu

HTML generated by org-mode 7.01 in emacs 24

QR Code for WalkyTalky:
QR code for WalkyTalky

QR Code for Intersection Explorer:
QR code for Intersection Explorer