Last Updated: March 12th, 2013

While we still wait for newer products like Play Movies or Play Books to reach a wider audience, Google's been hard at work bringing a slightly more useful product to additional countries: Google Maps with Navigation. After bringing voice navigation to India, nine more new countries are being added to the supported list for the Navigation beta. Including the following:

  • Egypt
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Qatar
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Bahrain
  • Jordan
  • Algeria

nav nav[3]

Unfortunately, the service will require Android 4.0 or higher. This is likely due to Arabic script API incompatibilities with older versions. Though, it's a little unclear on just when all the necessary features would've been added (for example, bi-directional text was only added in Jelly Bean). Either way, you'll need to be running at least a mostly-fresh version of Android to get in on this action.

While it's true that a lot of Google services start out as US-only, or only launch in a few select markets, it's nice to see that one of the products Google is most aggressive about getting into as many markets as possible is a practical one, instead of just entertainment.

Update: Official Google source.

Source: Vodafone Egypt, AME Info, Google

Thanks, Karim!

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • Stas Khoroshevsky

    Bummer.. What about Israel?

  • itai_marom

    what about israel? D:

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      We're monitoring the countries and will let everyone know as soon as navigation expands to Israel. Out of curiosity, do you have Google Maps there and just lack navigation or there isn't even Google Maps?

      • hyperbolic

        Just lack of navigation.

  • KarimMunir

    Always great to help my favorite tech site ;) It's great to see Google opening up to new markets like Egypt especially as here, you can only see free apps. This would be understandable if all free apps were available but only a few are there. Always need a market unlocker :P

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      And I thank you for the tip.

  • http://twitter.com/IamPeePay Tomáš Petrík

    Are they really aggressive about bringing it to that many markets?
    We, in Slovakia, are waiting for Navigation like for two years now. Neighboring countries like Austria or Czech Republic have it since long ago, but Google constanstly keeps forgetting about us.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I'm sure Slovakia is on the list somewhere. We're staying on top of these and will let you know the moment it goes live in your country.

      • http://twitter.com/IamPeePay Tomáš Petrík

        I was actually glad for a while when I read that Slovakia is surely on the list... until I noticed that you replied the same to everybode else here :D

  • Stas Khoroshevsky

    Bummer.. What about Israel?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I'm sure that's on the list soon.

  • Hamed Almandhari

    What about Oman?

  • mustafa

    Iraq? There is a great market for android here

  • HellG

    and now i have to wait dazillion years for the in-market purchases to arrive to the middle east! i also HATE the region-specific top programs, which in the Middle east are mostly crappy/shady porn programs! give us a break google! i love your country but everything you do now seems to be US specific! most of your market share comes from countries like india Egypt and Indonesia, show us some love!! :D

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      It's much easier for Google to do business in countries where they are used to operating and where laws are in place that are easier to deal with. I'd say blame partially your government for making things harder on companies like Google. Plus, think about how hard it actually is to cater to the whole world.

      • HellG

        well artem, that's kinda weird knowing that there are no such limitation on iTunes (i HATE apple btw) you might be correct though, but they should at least let us the choice to use the market coupons, i can just ship it to here, scratch it and use it!

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          It's true - Apple is ahead in these things, and Google is catching up. But Apple did start earlier, so Google is hopefully gunning for as many countries as possible as fast as they can.

  • Ali

    Great news, most Egyptian people have android phones.

    • http://www.facebook.com/OssamaTarek Ossama Tarek


  • http://profiles.google.com/dwreck420 derk p

    people in the mid east have smart phones and cars?

    • Eileya

      I'm from Middle East, and I have Nexus with Jelly Bean, while you are still in ICS Thanks to Verizon. HAHAHAH! Wait till 2014 to get Jelly Bean, at that time I will have Android 6. HAHAHA!

      • http://profiles.google.com/dwreck420 derk p

        i have nexus on sprint with jelly bean :)

        • mehim

          damn ... you got us, we don't have anything here ... but i am quite happy with the new update, because i tried to get my camel to understand the navigation UI (camel-optimized btw) but he keeps turning left when it clearly says "AKHHHH ... KH .. KHHH" which means right :S ...

          just kidding, but your attempt at a joke wasn't funny and you had to be made to feel bad :D

    • Zaatour36

      Really??? -_-

    • DubeBoom

      on israel yes, on other countries im not sure :P

      • mehim

        dude ... we only fight when we're in the middle east, outside we bro it up >:S

        didn't you get the memo ?

    • AJ

      Well I guess you are living under a rock somewhere. Or you are just an ignorant idiot.

    • Ommadawn
  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    And now with an official Google blog confirmation, including a video and some screenshots.

  • Zaatour36