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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Google Maps Mobile 2 Beta

Here's a tiny bit more information on the My Location feature in Google Maps Mobile 2.
http://www.google.com/gmm/mylocation.html?hl=en

At the moment it can't seem to pinpoint my location (without GPS). I'm in Amsterdam....
Let's see if it finds me during the course of today!

Well, I'm impressed :) The My Location feature did indeed kick in later in the day when I was on my way home. It told me (and showed me) that it had pinpointed my position to within "1700m". There was the familiar little blue dot, but this time with a faded blue circle around it. The position of the solid blue dot was in fact a fair bit closer than 1700m. It was about 900m away from my exact location.

So, this is pretty impressive. Not so great for door to door navigation. I mean, if you were in a car you'd be pretty screwed, driving through parking lots and over the edge of cliffs. No, "to within 1700m accuracy" doesn't cut the mustard. But for location-based news, weather, alerts it's perfect. I really really hope to see Google quickly allow users to sign-up for third party localised info via this technology.

For me this would have to work in such a way that the third parties were not able to access my location data (I'm obviously not too keen on random IT support guys knowing where I'm hanging out!) Only Google would know that (ok, ok, ok, Google, CIA, etc, etc!)

But it really would be very cool to get a spontaneous alert if I came within walking distance of a Chinese restaurant, and I had a particular weakness for Chinese food. Or telling me that it was about to rain!!! I mean, we can do pretty accurate weather these days right? I mean, a day or so in advance may still be iffy, but I reckon a weather prediction an hour or so in advance is going to be pretty good. The same goes for speed cameras, cinema's showing my requested film.. etc etc.

I think though that Google first needs to launch a mobile application a bit like Yahoo's nearly-there Yahoo! Go application. Yahoo! Go is a bit.. lumpy somehow. I still can't quite say what I don't like about it, but it's stuff like not being able to add attachments to emails - I mean I've got 3G for goodness sake! And I can only see my Inbox - when I've got a bunch of custom folders fed via custom filters. Then the Flickr part doesn't let you display images via keywords, and what about something simple like a feature that let you automatically update your background picture with a new Flickr photo on a schedule. Come on guys, let's see some meat! :)

So I've had my mobile moan. Till next time!

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