Garmin Voice Studio – Customize Your GPS’s Voice

I have to imagine that the GPS hardware market is a tough place in which to compete these days.  In fact, I’d be willing to bet that even the most Luddite of my friends all own a unit.  So, what is it that goes into your decision when upgrading your hardware?  I’m sure price, size and maps all go into it.  But as many things in the gadget world, the “killer app” also comes into play, no?  This is where the Garmin Voice Studio comes in.

Yes, I realize it may be hyperbole to call this little piece of software a killer app, but it is nonetheless a pretty cool chunk of code.  For the uninitiated, it works like so:

  • Download and install the program on your PC (first make sure your device is compatible).
  • Follow the prompts and record your or someone else’s voice.
  • Hook up a USB cable between your Garmin GPS and PC
  • Transfer voice file to your unit.
  • Pick your voice name in the Settings>Language list
  • Viola!  You’ll soon be receiving routing directions from a friend, loved one or husky-voiced stranger if you’re so inclined.

I happened to record Little NH for my nüvi and the results were a real laugh.  Hearing a near-three-year-old say “enter roundabout” with such conviction is really funny.  Not to mention, instead of saying “take ramp right” she said, “take Gramp right.”  Whatever works, kiddo.

So, it’s the little things like this that might be able to sway some of today’s buyers of GPS units to one brand or another.  It may not be a killer app in the traditional sense but when I showed it to my buddy and his wife (TomTom owners) and told him that it was only for Garmin GPS’s, the looks on their faces were killer.

Garmin and Google – A Sync Match Made in Navigation Heaven

So I’m busy planning a trip to Spain with my brother that starts next week and am having fun “walking” the streets of Madrid using Google’s Street View feature.  Along the way, I save all sorts of points to my map.  By the time I’m finished, my map of Madrid is dotted with more tenedores y copas than one can count and I’m wishing that there was a way to make it portable – on my Nuvi 770.

Well, there is.  Thanks to the folks at takeitwithme.com there’s a great little on-line tool to sync most any device to Google Maps.  I tried the standard Garmin Communicator Plug-in download but it doesn’t support European maps – at least in the cities I tried.  But you should still download it.  It ends up being the bit of software that lets your Nuvi talk to Google Maps.  After you have your “MyGarmin” account all set up and the plug-in installed, just go to the link above, cut and paste your map link and, booya, you’re all favorited up.

So, now you know what I know.  If you just want to plot your favorite haunts in your US hometown, the chipper dude in this video will show you how to do it.