Thursday, November 29, 2007

Google Maps for Mobile now gets the location even without GPS

Guys at Google continuously crank new features to their Google Maps Mobile -application. Now they're added acquiring the phone's location without GPS.

The blog posting does not say much how exactly the location information is resolved. Is it calculated on the google's servers, using the CellID and possibly other data sent by the GMM application? Or does the application figure it out by itself.

I bet the first option is the correct answer. On that case I wonder has Google harvested the cellid location data already for some time with the existing gmm applications out there, and therefore figured out the locations of most of the cell towers? The video on the blog post says that "the service gets better the more you use it", it might refer to data collection of some sort.

Interesting development nevertheless.

If you are using gmm a lot, make sure your data plan is either unlimited or the flat rate quota is put high enough - the maps eat the megabytes pretty fast.

Update: One analysis is saying that gmm is really using the CellID data sent by the existing users with gps and data sharing enabled. The location data is then only valid if someone has used gmm before on that area with GPS, or if Google has preloaded some information on its systems. There has been many projects of getting CellID data around the world, so I would assume that the results of those initiatives have been feed also in to the system. In most of the projects the databases have been public (?)

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Google Maps Mobile now to Symbian and with GPS

Google Maps Mobile got its first public native Symbian application yesterday. I do not yet have decided whether I do like the new one better over the old J2ME one. The native version is sure faster and more slick, but it does not (seem) to have all the functionality in. GPS support is of course very long awaited and useful addition.

What I would like to see is the integration of the locations and maps stored in the online service (My Maps) with the mobile version. This would allow storing the important locations conveniently with the browser and just have access to them when needed. Also placemarking on the go, with some kind of annotation would be very useful. I have no doubts that these features are on the Googles list too..

Note: If one's wondering why not just use Nokia Maps - the reason is that these tools are for different use cases. I use Google Maps for quick check for the neibourghood or the street names. The satellite imagery feature of the GMM is naturally also a good for showing off what can be done with the mobiles and Internet. Nokia Maps is then for a bit more serious stuff: It has more solid searching funciton and POI database. The navigation feature is also very useful to have. Nokia Maps starts up much slower so it is not really for quick checks.

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