Monday, March 02, 2015

BLEG: Google Navigator TTS

As if I didn’t have enough aggravation . . .

My Galaxy S5 has two voice options for its text-to-speech (TTS) function:  the Samsung Voice (warm and sultry) and the Google Voice (chirpy and efficient).  When I purchased the phone, the default setting was the Samsung Voice, which I had come to prefer.  Unfortunately, about a month ago, the TTS for the Google Navigator application unexpectedly switched to the Google Voice.  This despite the phone’s TTS setting (under “Language and Input”) still set to Samsung Voice.

Google Navigator is the only application with which I ever use TTS, so it is disappointing that it has started using Google Voice irrespective of the phone’s global setting.  Does anyone have any idea how to get Navigator to change TTS voices?

Thanks in advance.


trumwill said...

Have you considered replacing Navigator? There are better GPS/Nav apps out there (for free).

Dr. Φ said...

I have not. It integrates well with Google Maps, and I have generally not had a problem with Google Navigator. (Though I've been meaning to write a post on one of its foul-ups.) Can you recommend a replacement?

trumwill said...

Yeah, the integration with Google Now and GoogleMaps does have me using Navigator sometimes, but not typically. Going to one of these two adds another step (copying and pasting the address, if you're using GMaps). The better options are:

Waze: If you don't mind using up your data (which is what you're doing if you're using Navigator), Waze is really good. The neatest feature is there is a mechanism by which users warn other users about cops hiding in the bushes, as well as cars on the side of the road, construction, and other blockages. It updated its maps after a nearby street change (a permanent roadblock was put up to prevent through traffic) before even GoogleMaps did. Its ETA's are ridiculously good (It guessed a four hour drive within five minutes of the original ETA). It is meticulous in routing you the fastest way. The only downside, really, is that sometimes it gets just a bit too clever for its own good and will occasionally route you an odd back way that leaves you wishing you'd just taken the non-back way at the expense of a minute or two.

Nokia Here: This one lets you download maps, so you're not using up your data and it works even if you're offline (be sure to move the maps to your SD card, though, if you do). This one doesn't have some of the bells and whistles that Waze does, but it does let you know how much time you can expect to lose to traffic. The maps are solid and reasonably up-to-date. There's no Hidden Cop feature, but it is very customizable with speeding alerts so that if you want to avoid going sufficiently fast to get a ticket, it'll help. They have voices to choose from (American male/female, British male/female), though if you use a memory freeing app there can be conflicts.

I have purchased a couple of paid apps, but I still end up using one of the above two 90% of the time. I use Here for long trips to avoid data usage, and for trips through Loudoun County where the cops are notorious and I'd just as soon avoid speeding. I use Waze the rest of the time.