Google today announced the release of version 2.0 of Google Maps for mobile, which uses cell tower ID information to provide users with their location.
New in v2.0 is a beta version of Google's "My Location" technology, which provide users with their approximate location, helping them determine where they are, what's around them, and how to get there. The revamped mapping software enables mobile telephones linked to the Internet to simulate GPS (global positioning system) tracking, which uses orbiting satellites.
"My Location" determines which cell tower a mobile telephone is using and displays a map of the area with a blue circle pinpointing the spot.
Google says its location tracking service is faster than GPS, uses less battery power and is more reliable indoors where architecture sometimes interferes with satellite signals. However, Google's service isn't as precise as GPS. In most instances, Google hopes to get within 400m of a user's location, compared to 5m with a GPS.
In an effort to pre-empt concerns regarding privacy, Google says it is not gathering "any personally identifiable information" or data that could reveal particular users' whereabouts. The My Location feature can be disabled by users.
My Location software works on most Internet-enabled "smart phones," including BlackBerry models, newer Sony Ericsson devices, and some Symbian and Motorola phones.
By knowing more about a mobile phone's location, Google conceivably could make more money displaying ads from nearby businesses hoping to lure in more customers.