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Image credit: Chris Velazco/Engadget

Google Assistant will finally field requests in Maps

Three words: It's. About. Time.
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Chris Velazco/Engadget

If you're a heavy commuter you might have noticed that Google Assistant has carved out a home for itself in the Android and iOS Google Maps apps. Turns out, Google was quietly testing it this whole time and some users got early access to the feature a little early. Now, thankfully, it's live and ready for just about everyone.

You've always been able to ask Google Assistant for turn-by-turn directions -- as of today, though, you can ask it to add stops to your route, reply to messages and play music and more. The best part? Nothing about what you see in the navigation screen changes, so you can remain focused on actually getting where you have to go while getting some crucial extra context about your day.

As usual, though, you'll notice some differences in the Google Maps/Assistant experience depending on what kind of device you're using. You'll find that, whether on iOS or Android, Google Assistant now auto-punctuates the messages you speak aloud. (Our inner grammarians are mighty pleased about this.) Beyond that though, Android users benefit from the lion's share of the Assistant tweaks: they'll be able to ask the AI to read incoming messages and to send Viber, Telegram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger notes in addition to standard texts. Assistant will also calculate and send your ETA from a given destination to your contacts, which just might be a godsend for chronically late Android users.

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Chris is Engadget's senior mobile editor and moonlights as a professional moment ruiner. His early years were spent taking apart Sega consoles and writing awful fan fiction. That passion for electronics and words would eventually lead him to covering startups of all stripes at TechCrunch. The first phone he ever swooned over was the Nokia 7610, because man, those curves.

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