March 28, 2012 at 5:32 PM ET
Tired of going to Google Maps on your phone when you're driving and hoping you can make it far enough without having to look at your screen? Don't like the idea of using an expensive, dedicated GPS smartphone app? GPS software maker Telenav may have the answer to your prayers with Scout for Apps.
Msnbc.com's Wilson Rothman wrote about this program when it was in development a few months ago, and Wednesday it became available to developers -- and to consumers -- to try.
I headed over to Scout.me, and used the Web-based program to find directions from where I live to a deli in a nearby community. Then, I simply asked it to send the directions to my iPhone. Within seconds, I received a text message with a link to spoken-word turn-by-turn directions -- on my phone's Web browser. There was the standard nav voice most of us are used to hearing, reading the directions I asked for, along with a route map, with no particular app required.
Right now, Scout for Apps is only out for Apple's iOS platform, but an Android version will be available later this year, Telenav says.
You may be wondering why a navigator that doesn't require an app has "for Apps" in its name. "Scout for Apps is the first HTML5, browser-based, voice-guided turn-by-turn GPS navigation service for mobile phones," Telenav said in a news release.
"Developers can integrate the service by simply adding one line of code, making it ideal for social, travel and shopping apps, or any other app or website that includes points of interest, places or addresses."
The Yellow Pages app, made by Avantar, was one of the first testers of Scout for Apps, and Wednesday released an update incorporating it into its free program.
"Previously, when users clicked on an address in our Yellow Pages app, we provided a standard map experience to help users get to their desired destinations," said Adrian Ochoa, Avantar CEO in the Telenav release. "Now with Scout for Apps, our customers will receive full-blown turn-by-turn, voice-guided directions, and they will never have to leave our app to get those directions and guidance."
For us, the beauty of it is seeing how any location-aware Internet-connected device can suddenly give you turn-by-turn directions, without too much specialized software. There's no reason why, in the near future, every map will come with a moving, realtime "You are here" indicator, and along with a friendly voice to guide you elsewhere.
To learn more, here's Telenav's video about Scout for Apps for developers: