A lot of people have recently done stories about Google Maps Mobile so I thought I’d give it a try. I installed it by browsing to www.google.com/gmm on my Windows Mobile phone and installing the CAB. It’s so simple to use and there’s a bag of options to choose from including fast location finding, business finder, directions, map / satellite views, traffic, contact locations and GPS location tracking.
Now, I’ve been on somewhat of a GPS kick of late. If you’ve got the o2 XDA Orbit or the T-Mobile MDA III Compact or any other Windows Mobile with a bluetooth GPS dongle then you’ll know what I mean. With the price of Bluetooth GPS receivers dropping all the time (have a look at these eBay prices) and more GPS integrated handsets hitting the market you’re bound to see more GPS applications coming out so I decided to try this out on the road.
First I told it to go onto “satellite” viewing mode. Many people will have no doubt seen TomTom, Route 66 or CoPilot showing normal street maps, but Google also offers real pictures of your surroundings. I turned this on and then selected “Track Location (GPS)”. To be honest I half-expected a barrage of screens with GPS port settings, baud rates and more, but it automatically detected everything and within a few seconds I had a dot on the screen to represent my position. This was fantastic – I could drive around and could see which neighbours had the biggest gardens :)
Next up I tried the local business search. This didn’t work all that well, especially given the search term I tried. :) I wanted to find the nearest pub, but it was having none of it. I tried “pizza” and some others but not much came back..
…all in all though it works fantastically well. The zoom function is brilliant, as is the “draggable” map. The only gripe I would have is the amount of data used when downloading the images – they’re downloaded in squares as you drive into new areas and I found that I’d gone well over 1Mb of usage after just 2 miles. There’s a usage meter on the top right so that you can keep track of your data and it’ll tell you whether GPS is on too.
Link – www.google.com/gmm