Google offers free sat-nav and music search

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Google offers free sat-nav and music search

Warwick Ashford

Google has announced a free mobile satellite navigation application and a music element to its search, but both are limited to US users for now.

Google has stepped up its challenge to rival Apple with a sat-nav application for Samsung and Motorola smartphones running Google's Android operating system.

Although Apple's iPhone features Google Maps, the new navigation application will add real-time directions, Google Street View photos, live traffic data and voice technology. Industry analysts say this combination could pose a serious challenge to established sat-nav suppliers like Garmin and Tom-Tom.

Google search results in the US now automatically include links to audio previews of artists, songs and albums. They also contain links to purchase tracks from partners such as MySpace and Lala.

Google has also partnered with Gracenote to enable users to search for songs by lyrics if the full titles are not known.

This feature improves search and helps users discover new sources of licensed music online and helps artists connect with new generations of fans, Google said in a statement.

Music search is limited to the US, but Google has indicated it is open to talking to possible overseas partners to expand the feature to other regions.

Another innovation introduced by Google this week was its Social Search feature, which is live in Google Labs, but not yet integrated in the main search engine.

With Social Search enabled, Google search results will include entries that relate to people in each user's social circle.

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