Dec 032007
 

Okay, despite my recent problems with the Big G I’ve got to admit their latest announcement is pretty damn cool-

We’ve all been there: You’re out and about, and you need to figure out where you are, what’s around you, and how to get there. Google Maps for mobile can help you do all that, but first you have to enter in a starting point using the keypad. And let’s face it — entering things into your phone using the keypad is so 2006. While some people are lucky enough to have GPS-enabled mobile phones that provide location information for Google Maps for mobile, the vast majority of us are not. So what to do?

Starting today, we have an answer: Google Maps for mobile with My Location . My Location is a new beta technology from Google that uses cell tower identification to provide you with approximate location information, so it will work on phones without GPS. Simply fire up Google Maps for mobile, press [0], and the map will indicate your approximate location by centering on a blue circle like this:

If you do have a GPS-enabled device, My Location can actually complement it. My Location kicks in faster than GPS in most cases, so you can access your location even faster on the map. It also works reliably indoors (unlike GPS) and doesn’t drain your phone battery at the rate that GPS does.

This is very slick stuff. Personally, I’ve always been pretty torn over GPS. On the one hand, I really like the technology. On the other hand, carrying a GPS device as a political dissident seems like an open invitation to have your movements used against you by the state. On the other (less paranoid) hand, the adventure in road tripping is largely brought about by the possibility (or frequent reality) of having no idea where you are, where you’ve been, or where you’re going.

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