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There’s almost no tool more necessary or more useful on a smartphone than a map program. Google maps has always been one of the first programs I download and test. I am never disappointed. The newest, beta version of Google Maps Mobile has added a new feature called My Location. Not all cell phone have GPS built in, so this feature will use data from cell phone towers to provide an approximation of your location. Just press the ‘0’ on your keypad to view your location – this will show up as a flashing blue dot with a lighter blue circle around to indicate the approximate area that the program figures is your location. Of course, if your phone has GPS-enabled then Google Mobile uses that technology to indicate your true location.

Here’s a video of My Location to see how it works.

Even without that particular feature, Google mobile continues to improve, as you can hopefully see from my screen grabs. You can search through nearby business which will provide you with links to info and directions. It’s really quite clever! You are often given a phone number so you can click on that and immediately make a call to the selected business. Very convenient when you want to order pizza.

If you want Google mobile (and why wouldn’t you!) send a text message to your phone from this page. Once there you are directed to a site to download GoogleMaps for your phone. Or just go to Google maps from your phone browser and click on the link “Maps(Download). That will start the process. Download the cab file…..install. Most phones ask you permission to download and where – on the device is a good idea. Not all phones seem to be able to access the My Location feature. The pantech duo and GlobalMOTO-Q still seem to not get that even after I have downloaded newer beta versions of Google mobile at least twice. The Cingular 8525, however got this feature working immediately. In fact, as soon as I started the program it tried to locate me. It was several blocks off, but at least it works! Look at the Gif animation and see the Blue/white dot – it flashes between the two and as I Zoom in the bluish circle around that dot is clearly seen. Even when one switches between satellite and street map view.

I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before this works on most phones.

Pantech duo……………………………………………………………………………………GlobalMOTO-Q……………………………………………………………………………………Cingular 8525

Written by Cecilia