Google Maps now speaks place names so you don’t have to

If you sometimes find yourself repeatedly spelling, or yelling, a destination name to total strangers, fear not, Google Maps’ text-to-speech feature will save you the hassle

Communication issues can get in the way of what is supposed to be a relaxing trip. Translation apps or dictionaries do not usually provide names for places, as they are more focused on everyday vocabulary. Google Maps text-to-speech feature will save you the hassle from now on.

With this feature, currently available for 50 languages and counting, users can simply tap on a speaker button next to the address, and Google Maps will say the name out loud for them.

Furthermore, Google Maps will also link you to Google Translate, if you wish to continue the conversation. The app will determine whether the translation option is needed based on which language your phone is set to. So, Indonesians will not see a speaker button next to the ‘Monumen Nasional’, for instance.

Google has recently begun integrating its Translate feature with other services, including Google Home, Google Assistant, Google Lens and more, to the delight of users.

This all happens in a new pop-up window, which lets your phone speak the place-name or address in the local language.There’s also a handy “get more translations” button at the bottom, which will kick you out to the full Google Translate app. The language selection is all based on the locale chosen in your system settings, which is then compared to the local language of the place you’re looking up.

According to TechCrunch, the feature will be available for both iOS and Android users starting this month.

The geography translation and pronunciation feature is only Google’s latest experiment with applying voice technology to Google Maps. Last month, Google rolled out an expansion of its walking directions guidance specifically for people with visual impairments. The more proactive and detailed directions help those who cannot see navigate their way from place to place without getting lost, and keep them informed about potentially busy areas where they should exercise more caution.

Google has also been stepping up its efforts to localize its voice. In the case of Google Assistant, that includes accent variations and new international voices, as well as additional languages. Google wants to be the voice people expect to hear with all of the answers, the new feature just extends that to languages globally.


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