Lonely Planet Writer

Google's latest update - maps and apps speak Australian

Google’s most recent update includes a bonus for Australian travellers: Google maps and apps now speak Australian.

Google maps speak Australian.
Google maps speak Australian. Image by Robert Scoble / CC BY 2.0

The update released earlier this week includes recognition of Australian colloquialisms, including typical Australian shorthand such as footy, servo, Maccas and arvo. “People are starting to talk to their mobile devices more regularly – in fact, mobile voice searches have more than doubled in the past year alone,” a Google spokesperson told Australia’s ABC. “We wanted to make sure that Aussies were hearing an Australian voice speak back to them.”

Google’s update includes recognition of Australian place names, including those that are Aboriginal in origin, making the map app far more user-friendly for Australians and travellers to Australia than it has been in the past. Tongue-twister places such as Maroochydore, Murwillumbah, Cunnamulla, Tuggerawong and Indooroopilly are now searchable on Google apps using voice commands.

“Australians are more relaxed when they hear a familiar voice,” the spokesperson told Gizmodo Australia. “Users are now 30 times more likely to use voice rather than typing requests.” The Aussie sense of humour has also been incorporated, with a full history of Australia’s (fictional) predatory carnivorous koala available by asking “OK Google, what is a drop bear?”