Google Maps Link Up with Cell Phones

Dennis Faas's picture

Google is introducing an innovative service to customers, this time targeting web mobile users. The 'My Location' feature in Google Maps Mobile 2.0 is currently undergoing beta testing and will attempt to provide mapping services via user cell phones.

The concept of mapping technology in mobile devices is not particularly ground-breaking, as several smart-phones currently on the market have Global Positioning System (GPS) technology embedded into them. However, the advantage of this new service will be to provide access to mapping services to web mobile users whose devices do not have embedded GPS receivers. (Source:

This is a potentially massive untapped market, with Google's internal estimates projecting that only 15% of consumer phones support GPS. This service will utilize existing cell phone towers to triangulate an approximate location of the cell phone, and not satellites in high orbit. This service will be less accurate in pinpointing the exact location of a user, in comparison to GPS technology available in smart phones. Currently, it is accurate to within 1,200 to 2,700 meters, depending on the number of cell phone towers in your location. (Source:

However Chris Hazelton, senior analyst for mobile device technology and trends with IDC Research, notes "accuracy is not really an issue because more than likely you're not looking for exactly where are -- more for what's around you." This technology is not meant to replace in-car GPS devices for turn-by-turn navigational use, but is orientated towards identifying particular locations in the vicinity of the user through its integrated search feature. (Source:

In some ways the 'My Location' service outperforms GPS systems available in smart phones, due to much faster response times, indoor functionality and significantly decreased battery drain. However, at present this service is only available on a limited selection of cell phones, as well as a limited number of countries (including the United States, much of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Russia).

Google intends on maintaining 'My Location' as a free service, with the eventual implementation of lucrative advertising spots. (Source:

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