Google is rolling out two major international updates today. The first is that Google Maps navigation is now available in 11 additional countries. If you have Android 1.6 or higher, you can now get turn by turn directions using Google Maps Navigation version 4.2 in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland.

Google has also rolled out voice search functionality in four more languages: French, German, Italian, and Spanish.

The company says eventually you’ll be able to search by voice in all languages, but it takes time to add each new language. The company works with native speakers and spends time collecting sounds to refine the search feature. Even so, I have to say that when I use voice search or other voice recognition features on my Nexus One phone in English, I have to speak slowly and clearly and place the phone pretty close to my mouth in order for it to work properly — and I have a background in broadcasting.

Things get a bit trickier if you speak with an accent. While Google recognizes a wide range of English dialects including UK, Australian, and Indian accents, if you speak German with a French accent, you might still run into problems.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...

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