By May 18, 2012

How to get Google Maps Turn by Turn Street Name Voice Navigation Back

Google Maps and Google Navigation are some of the best apps on the Android platform. The unattractive, computerized female voice of the Navigation app has guided me to many locations, whether I’m in my car or in my motorcycle. I don’t like to look at my mobile phone while I’m driving, and I can’t look at it when I’m on my motorcycle. As such, one of the most important features of the Navigation app is the audible turn by turn directions.

Unfortunately, the latest updates to Google Maps replaced the street names with directional prompts, and it made the app unusable for me.

For example, if I was supposed to turn left on Center street in a quarter mile, the older versions of Google Navigation would announce:

“In a quarter mile, turn left onto Cen-ter street.”

now it just says:

“In a quarter mile, turn left.”

If you live in a larger town or city like I do, these directional prompts are useless. Often many streets and exits are close together so mumbling “exit left” during my commute home might mean taking a separate highway or exiting onto two different surface streets.

The prompts are even more confusing because often Google Navigation will tell you to “turn” in order to stay on a road that might fork into different roads, or change names. I was told to turn right two days ago, when all I needed to do was bear right and stay on the same street I was already on.

So, the latest two versions of Google Maps / Navigation are broken. How do you get your street names back?

Okay, the process is simple but it sounds counter-intuitive. You have to uninstall Google Maps to get it to work again. Don’t worry; you’re not actually uninstalling the app, you’re uninstalling the updates that made the app shitty.

The latest version of Google Maps as of this writing is 6.7.0.

Go to the Google Play app, then tap the Maps app.

Tap the Uninstall button.

Tap OK. Don’t worry, it’s just uninstalling the updates.

After uninstalling, you’ll see that the version of the app has been downgraded to 6.0.1

You’re going to lose some of the latest Google Maps features. However, I feel like the usability improvements, cosmetic bits and social media functionality are all secondary to functioning turn by turn street name voice navigation.

Some Galaxy Nexus phone users are reporting that street names are back in the latest 4.0.4 update. However, Verizon has not rolled this update out to a wide audience, including my phone. You can wait until the update rolls out, or you can uninstall the 6.7.0 or 6.6.x updates and get your voice prompts back./

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