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Google Local Goes Mobile

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the too-busy-to-google dept.

Google 98

bigtallmofo writes "Google has added a mobile version of their local-search service to their lineup of mobile applications available from devices equipped with XHTML-enabled browsers. Previously available mobile Google applications include their mobile web and image search and their SMS service (beta) that allows users to enter their search queries and receive results via a text message. The day of receiving unsolicited coupons for your next latte as you walk by a Starbucks is one step closer."

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98 comments

Welcome to (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12211269)

googledot.org! [slashdot.org] Where every story is about google!

Re:Welcome to (0)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211290)

Whatever the news warrants. At one time it was SCO. Now it's Google, and for good reason.

Re:Welcome to (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12211313)

for good reason? Does everything google does need to be reported here? Everything, its like OMFG THE CREATORS OF GOOGLE JUST TOOK A SHIT, LETS PUT IT ON SLASHDOT.

Useful (5, Insightful)

Stormcrow309 (590240) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211295)

For those of us that travel a lot to disparate locations for our jobs, this is useful. I could goto Chicago and find the House of Blues as a nightclub or the Scotch and Cigar Bar at Palmer house. Converting this to use on a mobile just makes sense.

Re:Useful (2, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211518)

Even people on vacation with the family and kids could use this. Need to find a gas station, Burger King, or even quickie mart on the road? Just use Google Local. Now if you could get it to work with your Treo and a GPS that would be cool.

Re:Useful (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 9 years ago | (#12212359)

yes and no. Unless google promises that they will NEVER EVER sell or use your sms address for anytihng but your requests then I'll agree to use it. also phone companies here in the US need to get a clue and make SMS a unlimited service. paying per message sucks, and I pity the fools that sms to get ringtones or java games, they end up havingto turn off their sms service because of the flood of spam they get..... yes I have first hand knowlege of this, my daughter did that from those damned commercials and that "jamster" ad's... they will gladly send you the free ringtone and 90,000 spam sms messages.

unless google can ensure they will never send me a sms unless I request one and that my sms information will never exist outside that single application I chose to use, I refuse to use it.

spam and telemarketers are bad enough, imagine making your SMS service 100% useless...

Re:Useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12212469)

From their Privacy Policy [google.com] :
When we require personally identifying information, we will inform you about the types of information we collect and how we use it. We hope this will help you make an informed decision about sharing your personal information with us.
and later:
We do not rent or sell your personally identifying information to other companies or individuals, unless we have your consent. We may share such information in any of the following limited circumstances:


* We have your consent.
* We provide such information to trusted businesses or persons for the sole purpose of processing personally identifying information on our behalf. When this is done, it is subject to agreements that oblige those parties to process such information only on our instructions and in compliance with this Privacy Policy and appropriate confidentiality and security measures.
* We conclude that we are required by law or have a good faith belief that access, preservation or disclosure of such information is reasonably necessary to protect the rights, property or safety of Google, its users or the public.

Re:Useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12212719)

* We provide such information to trusted businesses or persons for the sole purpose of processing personally identifying information on our behalf. When this is done, it is subject to agreements that oblige those parties to process such information only on our instructions and in compliance with this Privacy Policy and appropriate confidentiality and security measures.
* We conclude that we are required by law or have a good faith belief that access, preservation or disclosure of such information is reasonably necessary to protect the rights, property or safety of Google, its users or the public.


unacceptable.

your SMS address should never EVER be saved anywhere. that above clause is too easy to abuse... see what capitol one does, they have hundreds of scumbag telemarketing companies allowed to call themselves "capitol one" and then try and sell you crap.

that is why no company EVER get's my cellphone number... EVER. they get a landline that i can filter out all their calls on and do not cost me when they call it.

Re:Useful (1)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 9 years ago | (#12212372)

The SMS service [google.com] is infinitely more useful than you can imagine. You can bring up "Pizza", "Computer", in a zipcode; movie showtimes; Froogle prices; stock quotes; word definitions; directions; the capital of North Korea...

I've been using it for months and shocking people with the things I "know".

Re:Useful (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 9 years ago | (#12212596)

Combined with Maps, it is a powerful tool. I've already used it to organize a pubcrawl in Brooklyn. Pretty darn accurate. Although a few things here and there don't show up in the local search.

Hmmm, (1, Interesting)

rayray14 (591465) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211305)

I just tried to look for something and it gave me a parsing error: XML Parsing Error: not well-formed Location: http://www.google.com/xhtml?q=Pizza&near=Windsor%2 C+on&site=local&hl=en&lr=&ie=ISO-8859-1&btnG=Googl e+Search Line Number 2, Column 5693:

Re:Hmmm, (1)

op12 (830015) | more than 9 years ago | (#12213215)

Were you trying to look near Windsor, Connecticut?

The location parses to Windsor%2 C on according to google, and that's an unrecognizable location.

Try this instead: http://www.google.com/xhtml?q=Pizza&near=Windsor%2 C+CT&site=local&hl=en&lr=&ie=ISO-8859-1&safe=off&c 2coff=1&btnG=Google+Search [google.com]

Re:Hmmm, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12280270)

Currently the Yell footer has a bug (omitted quotes in href) which creates a XML parsing error and only sloppy IE can display the results. Stay tuned, should not take long to fix this. blog.davidkaspar.com

What? (5, Insightful)

anethema (99553) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211306)

The day of receiving unsolicited coupons for your next latte as you walk by a Starbucks is one step closer.

What kind of crap is that?

How does google making a search page make this any closer? Especially when google is well known for their unobtrusive ads. Maybe a small ad WHEN you search but just walking by some place?

SMS and web browsing on your phone already exist. Google releasing a local search (which is sweet when used with google maps BTW) isnt going to start the spamming of your cellphone.

I suppose I have been trolled, since that sentance couldn't have been meant as much else.

Re:What? (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211365)

No doubt the post is referring to the beta release of the Google Googles, which will track which retailers you look at as you walk down the street, and stimulate your brain with ultrasound to make you want an very expensive cup of interactive, localized coffee.

Really, as an amateur cultural anthroplogist, I've found the slashdot editorial drift from Google = Cool to Google = Big Corporate Search Stooge to be really something to watch.

Re:What? (-1, Offtopic)

CleverNickedName (644160) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211418)

Don't feed the Trolls. ;)

Re:What? (-1, Redundant)

dantheman82 (765429) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211454)

Wow, great idea!

1) data mining (working with Google)
2) Adsearch returns ads/text message coupons from local biz type that I searched for
3) Pay Google - $X per ad sent
4) Profit!
5) More profit!

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12212491)

How does google making a search page make this any closer? Especially when google is well known for their unobtrusive ads. Maybe a small ad WHEN you search but just walking by some place?

Mobile search is going to be different than web search. With web search, since you are anchored to your desk (even with your laptop, you're usually using it at a desk, not while walking down the street), it makes more sense to only deliver results on a client-server, per request, in the moment basis.

But with mobile search, it makes more sense that the paradigm will be for you to set up a few search topics of interest to you, and then have Google "push" search results to you, whenever you are in an area located near one of your ongoing query interests.

For example, suppose you really liked sushi. It would make much more sense to set up an ongoing "sushi query" for yourself, so that any time you were near some new sushi restaurant, your mobile would alert you.

And if this type of query paradigm makes sense to you, then it really isn't that far off for google to start sending Starbucks discount coupons to your mobile, if you are someone who had set up an on going "coffee query" for yourself. Yes, yes, yes, they would do it unobtrusively. Of course. They're google and they're not evil.

But don't think the day isn't coming, when this does happen. Nothing trollish at all about what I nor the previous author said.

Re:What? (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 9 years ago | (#12215297)

The day of receiving unsolicited coupons for your next latte as you walk by a Starbucks is one step closer.

One of my favorite quotes from joel on software [joelonsoftware.com] : "It solves the one problem that coffee shops DON'T have, namely, advertising to peoplewho are standing right in front of the store!"

Anti-Google (0, Offtopic)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211307)

The day of receiving unsolicited coupons for your next latte as you walk by a Starbucks is one step closer.

Zonk really likes posting those anti-google stories, doesn't he? Does he see Google as "the man" now that they're rich and famous? I understand it's a natural inclination to be envious of others who appear to have more, but as grown ups we should suppress those reactions. Personally, I think it's cool that Google is coming to mobile phones. As a company, they have earned my trust and I will happily give them the benefit of the doubt.

Let's just hope that Zonk doesn't refer to a "post-Columbine world"...

Re:Anti-Google (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12211543)

Except Zonk didn't write that, bigtallmofo did. You've been here long enough, I'd have hoped you'd understand what the bits quoted and in italics means. Still, don't let things like facts get in the way of your little rant.

Re:Anti-Google (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12211704)

Except Zonk didn't write that, bigtallmofo did.

Except that the original poster said that Zonk really likes posting those stories, not that he wrote it. You've been here long enough, I'd have hoped you'd understand what the bits of English text mean. Still, don't let things like facts get in the way of your little rant.

Re:Anti-Google (-1, Offtopic)

Zonk (12082) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211905)

As the AC responding to your comment (who was modded down to 0) stated: That was the user's opinion, not mine. User opinions are constantly included in stories posted to Slashdot.

As for disliking the search engine, I use Google an average of about once every 5 minutes. It is like a kitty that I keep by my side, that I lovingly pet and stroke every once in a while to illicit a soft purr or sigh.

Re:Anti-Google (-1, Offtopic)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 9 years ago | (#12212137)

As the AC responding to your comment (who was modded down to 0) stated: That was the user's opinion, not mine. User opinions are constantly included in stories posted to Slashdot.

And as the AC who responded to him pointed out, I was making light of the fact that there seem to be a lot of anti-google posts lately with you as the editor. Remember, you are the filter for any and all opinions that come through. The results of your filtering *appear* to have a specific bend to them. i.e. An anti-google stance.

Maybe you're doing it unintentionally, or maybe the general Slashdot concensus is tipping that direction. (Nothing new that Slashdotters need to grow up.) In either case, it's reflecting on you as the editor.

It's really nothing personal, and not intended as an insult. It merely makes light of how you appear as an editor. (Sorry about the Columbine crack, though. We can't resist poking at JonKatz around here. :-))

Re:Anti-Google (-1, Offtopic)

Zonk (12082) | more than 9 years ago | (#12212223)

Personal, not at all. :)

I felt like some folks took things personally this weekend, and I wanted to comment on that. My only bias is techno-happy, really. If there are any luddites on the site, I suppose I could have a fighting words war with them.

Re:Anti-Google (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12212331)

It seems that the gods of Slashdot are angered. The entire topic from Zonk's original post on down got slapped down. Whoa.

Re:Anti-Google (-1, Offtopic)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 9 years ago | (#12212172)

P.S.: As the AC responding to your comment (who was modded down to 0)

I'm surprised that you don't understand the modding system better than that. ALL AC posts start at -2. According to the modding history, no one has modded the AC down.

Re:Anti-Google (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12218498)

That's weird. I just noticed that my previous post now says that all AC posts start at -2. ??? I (at least tried) to say that all AC posts start at 0. How very weird...

Re:Anti-Google (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12211990)

Bah.

Old Hotness: "Post-Colombine world"

New Hotness: "Post-September 11th", "in these uncertain/troubled times"

Dang, it's tiny! (4, Informative)

Anonymous Cowdog (154277) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211311)

The map is tiny on my Treo. It's surrounded by a huge amount of white space. I wish there was an option to have a larger map. Zooming in doesn't help.

I've got a frickin cellphone (1)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211591)

and the map could stand to about double its size.

I wish it could save a list of frequently used addresses for driving directions like yahoo does. It's painful keying them in with t9

Re:Dang, it's tiny! (1)

Reapman (740286) | more than 9 years ago | (#12216891)

Are you running the "Optimized view?" try resetting it so it doesn't try and fit it to the screen.. just a thought I haven't tried this on my Treo yet either, but damn yeah it's about time. Now if only Rogers in Canada would lift the 3mb limit / prices so I don't have to panic when i see the counter rise for traffic.

heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12211312)

Slowly but surely google is becoming the next microsoft

Re:heh (1)

EmperorKagato (689705) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211484)

I concur. Google is becoming more like Xerox and Bell Labs with much more advertisement power and a large group of fans.

Re:heh (2, Insightful)

suitepotato (863945) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211796)

I concur. Google is becoming more like Xerox and Bell Labs with much more advertisement power and a large group of fans.

(sarcasm on)Considering what spawned from those hellish places like the horrors of Unix and Apple and so on, maybe we should all be frightened what might come from the ruins of the dark land of Google.(sarcasm off)

Seriously, the small is beautiful and better than correct or workable mindset belongs in the past with things like Xenix. We're living in better times now. We can deal with Google no matter how big they get. Tinfoil hats are no help.

BTW, I can't get even their mobile pages to work reasonably swift on my Sprint service so I guess I'll wait to make use of them for when I have a more powerful phone.

Re:heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12212680)

Thank you. Yes, we're doing lots of cool stuff like Xerox and Bell Labs did, our ad product is doing great, and we need that large group of fans to keep our servers cool.

What?

3G Phones and restrictive access (4, Insightful)

millwall (622730) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211316)

It's a pity that most 3G phones that are offered these days (at least in the UK) are restricting surfing to the service provider's homepage.

Sounds really lame, and it definitely is. So even if I've got a great 3G phone with browsing capabilities, I can't access the Google Local Mobile page because my service provider limits my usage to its own pay-services.

I hope to see a change in this area. Monopoly is never good, and imagine only being able to surf on one site where your service provider sets the rules.

Re:3G Phones and restrictive access (2, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211363)

It's a pity that most 3G phones that are offered these days (at least in the UK) are restricting surfing to the service provider's homepage.

Are you sure about that? Last time I had internet on my phone, the home page did take me to my provider's homepage. *However*, there was also an obscure menu item (called "Location", I think) that allowed me to type in a web address. It was a pain in the ass to type in, but it did work.

In any case, this is an SMS service, not a WAP service. Unless your provider only allows you to send them text messages (yuck), you can query Google by texting them.

Dude... you got stung (-1, Offtopic)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211478)


Who the hell are you with ? I'm on Orange, and can browse everything I want to (including Slashdot) from my nice little 6630.

The lesson here is TEST THE SERVICE IN THE SHOP first. And of course the old caveat emptor still applies.

Re:Dude... you got stung (2, Interesting)

farnz (625056) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211563)

He'll be with 3 [three.co.uk] . Cheap, but no web browsing, and (in my experience), appalling customer service.

Re:Dude... you got stung (1)

kin_korn_karn (466864) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211566)

In other words, transfer blame to the consumer, not the company that deliberately obfuscates and cripples a more capable product just to get some cheap brand enforcement.

You can always tell who grew up in the nice neighborhoods around here...

Re:3G Phones and restrictive access (1)

tengwar (600847) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211608)

No such restriction on Vodafone. I think it's only 3 that does that.

Re:3G Phones and restrictive access (2, Informative)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211778)

It's a pity that most 3G phones that are offered these days (at least in the UK) are restricting surfing to the service provider's homepage.

Not quite. Most (if not all, I don't know) phones on the 3 network restrict you to their own walled garden.

However, T-Mobile, Vodafone and Orange networks give you access to the whole internet. I don't know about O2 but I'm sure someone else can confirm what the status with them is.

Given this, the fact they have less base stations than T-Mobile and the switch from 3G to 2.5G is often reported as more problematic rather than seamless - I'd recommend switching to a better network.

Re:3G Phones and restrictive access (-1, Troll)

Inda (580031) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211937)

I don't have 3G but I can surf the whole internet using GPRS on the Tesco's branded O2 network. It doesn't even cost me anything in credit - I suspect this shouldn't happen. I only wish I had a better phone with a better browser.

Switch to a better network indeed.

Re:3G Phones and restrictive access (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 9 years ago | (#12212064)

I don't have 3G but I can surf the whole internet using GPRS on the Tesco's branded O2 network.

FWIW all the major networks give you full internet access via GPRS and CSD.

The only one I don't know about is 3, but I wouldn't consider them major :)

Tried using Google Mobile Once (4, Insightful)

NardofDoom (821951) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211323)

Between the inadequate text entry on my T610 and the godawful connection speed (GPRS sucks. Thanks cell phone companies!) and tiny screen, I'll just find an open wireless access point and use Google from my laptop.

Re:Tried using Google Mobile Once (0)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211614)

the godawful connection speed (GPRS sucks. Thanks cell phone companies!) I'll just find an open wireless access point and use Google from my laptop.

GPRS isn't *that* slow. Google is quite responsive (one of the faster sites out there while on GPRS) and I actually find myself using my hiptop [t-mobile.com] more than my laptop. Something that fits in my pocket is a lot easier to do a quick Google search on than locating an access point, booting up/waking up the laptop, doing the search, and then shutting down/putting to sleep the laptop.

YMMV.

Re:Tried using Google Mobile Once (1)

NardofDoom (821951) | more than 9 years ago | (#12212635)

I get about 16kbps when I connect to the Internet from my Powerbook over Bluetooth. And that's with perfect reception. Way, way, way to slow.

And the click-click-click, wait-wait-wait, damn-now-text-entry-mode-is-it-in, click, wait-wait-wait is usually a lot longer than it takes me to find an open access point.

Though I'm sure if I had an honest-to-goodness keyboard instead of twelve teeny buttons with teenier letters it would make things a little easier. But not faster.

We love to hate Google. (5, Insightful)

Poromenos1 (830658) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211345)

Why is it that whenever there's a post about Google everyone keeps looking for flaws that will make them "the next Microsoft"? I'm not referring to the article mention of ads, but whenever we hear something "corporationy" about Google, we always go "ooo, there we go, EEEEVIL". I'm not saying they're saints, but yeah, I get all that free high-quality stuff from Google and I like them. When (if) they start doing evil things, then I'll see about blaming them.

I hope... (3, Insightful)

kdougherty (772195) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211355)

... that you have a good text message plan, because personally I don't see the benefit on searching via my cell phone just to be charged $.10 for information. Especially since the text message has to be 160 characters or shorter. I'll get 100 replies and only 3 of them may be relevant costing me more than it would be to just drive to a public terminal. But hey... Who's keeping count? :)

Re:I hope... (2, Informative)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211536)

... that you have a good text message plan, because personally I don't see the benefit on searching via my cell phone just to be charged $.10 for information. Especially since the text message has to be 160 characters or shorter. I'll get 100 replies and only 3 of them may be relevant costing me more than it would be to just drive to a public terminal.

I don't know about all cell phone plans but most of the ones I have been under have free *in bound* SMS. So it's really irrelevant how many relevant replies you get from Google as long as you are only sending a single search string out.

Public terminals that I have seen run a couple dollars for an hour (if you don't have your own machine to do wireless with) and sometimes require a purchase at the store you are in.

YMMV.

Re:I hope... (2, Informative)

faedle (114018) | more than 9 years ago | (#12212432)

T-Mobile generally charges for both incoming and outgoing SMS messages...

New name? (1, Funny)

Reignking (832642) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211361)

I thought that new mobile content had to have stupid names, ala mobisodes? Shouldn't this be GooLocMob, or MobLocGoog, or GoogLocMob?

Re:New name? (-1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211909)

Mooble?

mmmmmm.. Latte (1, Insightful)

nabil_IQ (733734) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211362)

The day of receiving unsolicited coupons for your next latte as you walk by a Starbucks is one step closer.

and the day of me not minding a latte as I walk by a Starbucks is here!

Re:mmmmmm.. Latte (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12211573)

mmmmmmmmm unsolicited coupons, aggggh

corepirate nazi felons go loco? (-1, Offtopic)

already_gone (848753) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211364)

more&more fauxking stock markup FraUDs/softwar/information gangsters pretending to be the 'news'. what a surprise?

easy come, easy goo? consider yourself fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate.

it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc....

as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis.

we'd think you'd be concerned about the course of events that will occur should the corepirate nazi life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon.

'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

for each of the creators' innocents harmed, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

Re:corepirate nazi felons go loco? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12211456)

You know, you have to stop disappearing on us - this has to be some of the strangest, yet most interesting, social commentary some of us have ever read... :-)

my poor results (1)

ILikeRed (141848) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211436)

This is the one Google service that has not worked well for me. I was trying what I thought would be some simple searches - e.g.
  • While visiting another city's downtown - bar
  • My own city - beer
  • Hoping to find an archery range - archery
There were some others that returned poor results also - To be fair, I think pub worked well, but only showed places that actually had pub in the name. The sad thing is, this is definately a service that the business owners want to have work well, not just end users like me. I wonder if there is not some way that Google could get input from the business owners to make the system work better.

Re:my poor results (1)

generic-man (33649) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211534)

Unfortunately, Google Local sucks when compared with Yahoo! Yellow Pages [yahoo.com] because Google didn't bother to license any real Yellow Pages data. They instead rely on web pages to provide info. As a result, my company shows up with two addresses and the "more relevant" one is incorrect!

It's also useless for searching for most businesses. "Supermarket near X" just shows businesses near X with the word "Supermarket" in the name. Other keywords like "Chinese food" or "Pizza" neglect restaurants that simply name themselves after their proprietors.

In short, Google Local won't work until people start keyword-stuffing their business names and Google-bombing their correct contact info. What a shame.

Give Earthcomber a try (2, Informative)

cdunworth (166621) | more than 9 years ago | (#12215379)

If you have a Palm handheld, you might want to give Earthcomber [earthcomber.com] a try. (I'm one of the engineers there). We've built software and service similar to what you describe here.

We maintain a database of locations labelled by keywords. As a user, you can create search lists containing the keywords you want to find. Then the software looks for every place nearby which is labelled by a keyword in your active search list. Simple. The keywords attached to locations are picked by the proprietors themselves, so as a business you're not at the mercy of a relevance-scoring algorithm.

And it's all free to the user, including pan/zoom maps of the entire US to take with you.

We're really just getting started, so the service has several known (big) issues. To wit:

It's Palm-only

Not much commercial data (right now, it's mostly historic, civic, and geographic points of interest)

Our coverage area is limited to the US

It's not "over the airwaves" -- you have to download map and location data to your PC, then sync to your device (we offer a utility which helps)

Missing lots of little features, niceties (at this point, our enhancements list is a mile long)

We also have a non-commercial offering which I think is really unique, and that's Earthcomber Community [earthcomber.com] . It's like Yahoo Groups, but it's location-based. Our groups let you drop points on the maps, which you can then download and take with you. Or just view them on the web (no handheld required to use Community).

Again, we're brand new, so there aren't tons of groups. But you could start one today! ;-) If your thing is photography, create a group marking great spots to take a photo. If you like hiking, mark the hiking trail heads in your area. Solicit others to join and do the same, and pretty soon there's a whole world of locations relevant to your area of interest that you never even knew were there. Anyway, I think it could be cool. It just needs people.

OK, I'll stop pimping. But since what we are doing is relevant to your point, I thought I'd toss our hat in the ring.

Regards,
Chris

Re:my poor results (-1, Offtopic)

Reignking (832642) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211902)

I can't imagine why you couldn't find an archery range. I have 5 within 2 miles of here!

Non-Americans? (4, Insightful)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211443)

Whilst I have no doubt that this is a very nice, it would be interesting to know if Google plan on extending any of their newer services to people who don't live in the USA (eg. a rollout to the United Kingdom would be a nice next step).

Does anyone have any information? Or are we going to frequently see cool new Google stuff which we can't really use to the fullest?

(If they have no plans, it might be nice for Slashdot to drop the practially dead Apache section and change this to Google so at least us non-Americans can filter it out).

Re:Non-Americans? (1)

danharan (714822) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211519)

I typed in "Pizza" for my postal code, B2W 2X6, and tada! a list of the closest pizza shops. I know a few directory providers won't be too happy about this.

As soon as their underlying mapping system has data for the UK, the mobile edition should follow shortly.

Re:Non-Americans? (1)

Sebilrazen (870600) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211630)

People exist that don't live in the USA? What heresy is this?

Re:Non-Americans? (1)

diamondsw (685967) | more than 9 years ago | (#12212493)

Google has said all along it will be released when they have all the data. That type of data entry and coding takes time. Otherwise we'd have the Debian of websites: no new features for anyone until they work on the whole planet!

Re:Non-Americans? (1)

streamscape (777473) | more than 9 years ago | (#12212807)

Just read this article [theregister.co.uk] confirming that a UK rollout is planned.

Re:Non-Americans? (0)

n-baxley (103975) | more than 9 years ago | (#12213370)

Hey, if you want this service, you can come live her and pay American taxes to support our new Google overlords.

.

;-)

Don't worry (4, Insightful)

brontus3927 (865730) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211493)

The day of receiving unsolicited coupons for your next latte as you walk by a Starbucks is one step closer.

Ughhh. How? The Google SMS is a service where YOU request information, and Google provides information. It's a "dumb service" Google doesn't know any more about where you are than what you tell them. If your sitting in Philadelphia and do a Googble Mobile Local search for Thai in Vegas, Google will think your in Vegas and have no clue your in Philly.

Even if a next generation of this service was "smart" and used the GPS on your phone to know where you are, there's an accuracy limit of ~150 feet, IIRC. If your in Time Square in NYC, do you have any idea how many retail businesses are within 50 yards of you? It would overwhelm users who would complain in huge numbers and it would be dropped. Despite all the grassroots FUD on this issue, it's not going to happen. To get 10 foot resolution, you need to triangulate with 12 GPS satellites. To have any chance at getting line of sight with 12 satellites, you need to be a pretty open area. GPS tracking in urban areas is always going to be pretty useless

Mobile Location Services (1)

mparaz (31980) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211987)

GSM networks know approximately where you are. See for instance Nokia's solution [nokia.com] which:


increase revenues further and maintain ARPU[1] growth.


[1] Average Revenue Per User

Re:Don't worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12213223)

In India, people already get SMS spam when they enter a different coverage area.

Re:Don't worry (1)

elcastigador (855718) | more than 9 years ago | (#12213574)

In fact, you don't need GPS. If you are in a city and use a cell phone, your operator can track you. First, a mobile phone can be located based on which cell is in. In a city, cells are small (micro/picocells), so you can at least know in which part of a city a person is. The fact is that cell phones also monitor adjacent base stations, so the operator also knows how much power you are receiving form base station A, B, C, etc... Some simple triangulation can do the trick, but you can get at least an estimate location.

Text Messaging Just Easier (4, Informative)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211515)

I've gotta tell you - on my nokia 8300 series phone, web works fine, but text messaging is way easier. Finding addresses and phone numbers is awesome. It takes less time to type:
ikea philadelphia pa
or
pizza princeton nj
and text it to 46645 then it is to boot the browser, wait for the rediculously slow dl times, and then type in my search in two separate text boxes. usually the text message back with search results is also faster than results on my onboard web browser.

google text messaging rules! i use it all the time and wish i could thank them for all the time they've saved me.

Re:Text Messaging Just Easier (1)

sahala (105682) | more than 9 years ago | (#12214288)

I agree. I'm considering discontinuing my tmobile web service because it's just not worth it. It takes way too long to create a GPRS connection and in the meantime I have to sit there waiting for a response.

With google text messaging, however, I can fire off the request and keep walking, and get a nice little buzz in my pocket indicating some search results. With most cell phone plans it's much more practical to upgrade the text messaging plan than to add on an internet plan.

No 10 digit number? (2, Interesting)

John Girouard (716057) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211528)

It appears that US Cellular users cannot use this Google service, as USC does not support 'short codes', but instead requires 10 digit numbers.

Re:No 10 digit number? (1)

codeman38 (103138) | more than 9 years ago | (#12216631)

Same goes for T-Mobile Prepaid and Virgin Mobile.

You are silly (3, Interesting)

Jane Hackworth (872492) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211532)

All this means is that mobile users can access Google Local results. Users have to enter their selected location, just like they do for "regular" Google Local. Google's not figuring out the location by pinpointing the mobile user. If Google did get into targeted ads, I see no reason why they'd abandon their practice of doing so in a tasteful, optional way.

Re:You are silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12212468)

yeah those morons at google did not force the cellphone companiesto give out that private information.... HOW DARE THEY do that.

they shoud DEMAND to the cellphone companies to give the position you are at with every SMS and do it FREE...

DAMN THEM AT GOOGLE!!!!

More info (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12211561)

This is looking to be a good development. You can also check www.esforces.com for some info on other mobile search info.

Alternative to GPS (1)

Jakhel (808204) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211633)

Imagine if Google actually implemented gmaps and Google local on their mobile site. You could get directions on the road, figure out where you are and plot your course from there. Google maps + mobile compatability = alternative to personal GPS device.

Now imagive if Google also implemented Google Local. You would NEVER have to ask for directions anywhere again. That is, until you hit a dead spot for your cell phone carrier.

Re:Alternative to GPS (0)

Jakhel (808204) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211656)

and imagive if i read the article that says Google LOCAL goes mobile..

Re:Alternative to GPS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12212071)

Imagine if Google actually implemented gmaps and Google local on their mobile site. You could get directions on the road, figure out where you are and plot your course from there. Google maps + mobile compatability = alternative to personal GPS device.

They already had that, it was called a map.

Advantage to a GPS is it tells you WHERE you are, which Gmaps would not.

sounds good to me... (1)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211680)

well with the ridiculous price of Starbuck lattes, an unsolicited coupon sounds pretty good to me...hopefully it will be 1/2 off!

Really, tho, Google has been a good steward of online restraint. I think they deserve the benefit of the doubt and we should applaud whatever efforts they are making into mobile space.

Woohoo! (1)

VolcomPimp (875357) | more than 9 years ago | (#12211950)

Sweet! I just signed up w/ Verizon and my mins are gonna be goin to waste unless I find more stuff to do w/ mobile web.

Googl-age (1)

Massif (875445) | more than 9 years ago | (#12212008)

I'm against using mobile web features until they can get the pricing to a reasonable amount. I'm on Rogers in Canada and they charge $3 for 250KB of data, $7 for 1MB, and $12 for 2MB. On my first month of using their mobile internet plan, I went a little crazy downloading games. I probably downloaded about 10-15 games off of the net. Most of the games didn't even work on my phone. By the end of the month I had racked up $60 in mobile charges. That's insane! Now I understand why it costs more than regular internet access, but is it just me or are these prices a little too high? Nowadays for $10 I would expect at least 100MB seeing as the speed is dead slow.

Re:Googl-age (1)

neuph (591436) | more than 9 years ago | (#12214071)

You are paying too much. I have Bell, and I pay $5 for unlimited web access.

Re:Googl-age (1)

Massif (875445) | more than 9 years ago | (#12217972)

Hmmm just read up on that. Sounds awesome! However it says only 1X phones get unlimited and regular Digital Phones get 100 minutes for $5. I guess most new phones would be 1X...

Forget Stupid Cell Phones, Great for WiFi PDAs! (1)

taoboy (118003) | more than 9 years ago | (#12212537)

Can't wait to get home to try on my IPAQ 4150/802.11b. Format looks like it will fit that screen nicely. Thanks again, Google!

I made a conscious decision to get separate cell phone and PDA when I returned from overseas. I wanted my cell phone to be small enough to slip in my pocket, and having a screen big enough for WWW didn't allow that. This "Grand Unified Gadget Theory" leaves me nonplussed.

If you have a Danger Hiptop you can do much better (1)

nicpottier (29824) | more than 9 years ago | (#12213289)


I started a project to have a rich client for Google Maps that blows this away:
http://gmap.trileet.com/

You get a full scrollable map, way better view of the search results and a map that's actually 240x160 and you can scroll for infinity.

Most full maps take less than 5 seconds to come down and you get full integration with your addressbook etc..

You'll need a developer key and unlocked device to get it for now, but as I said, this blows away any other mapping software I've seen on any other phone.

Nic

GPLed Google Maps client for J2ME phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12220010)

I've written a J2ME google maps viewer for java-enabled cellphones. I'm releasing it under the terms of the GPL.

GMapViewer [sreid.org]

It's only been tested on my own phone, so expect problems.

Google wins again (2, Funny)

puck13 (102616) | more than 9 years ago | (#12213713)

I, for one, welcome our new benevolent information-providing overlords.

Yawwwwwwwnnn (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12213947)

Ohh boy another wireless yellowpages application. Big freakin deal. now we just have to wait and see what company can embed the most ads.

Let me ask you all this - if google does something this un-innovative, say like if google changes the font size on their website DO WE HAVE TO HAVE SLASHDOT report it??

finally! (2, Insightful)

eries (71365) | more than 9 years ago | (#12214668)

This is really handy, especially for on-the-road driving directions. But when will they incorporate vCard download [sf.net] ?

Kudos to the Local team, this is a big improvement.

plus 5, Troll2) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12214761)

least of which is npearly two years Come on baby...and that they can hold Developers. The *BSD is dying Yet

Observations after a short test (2, Informative)

sjbe (173966) | more than 9 years ago | (#12215403)

I used the service with a Palm Tungsten T3 through a Nokia 6310i via Cingular.

Short version:
Works great. Wish I had it years ago.
The maps need to be larger to be useful on a 320x400 screen.
The layout of the page could be optimized a bit. The Google logo at the top pushes data too far down. Google should either shrink the logo or relocate it.

Long version:
I've been looking for a service like this for a long time. I tried Avantgo [avantgo.com] for a while but it was cumbersome, and of limited use if you needed to find info on the fly. MapQuest [mapquest.com] allows you to download maps and directions using Avantgo but it doesn't work as well as Google Local.

I've alread mentioned my main criticisms of Google Local. It gives a map but seems targeted at 160x160 screens. (understandably) A larger map option would be nice as the maps are a little small to be genuinely useful IMO. You can zoom in/out and scroll around via buttons. Not as smooth as the regular Google Maps but perfectly adequate for on the road. Driving directions are always available and work great. Once you've located what you are looking for you simply select driving directions and enter your From: address. Simple and logical and it works pretty much exactly as you expect it to.

Speed of the service is fine. I have a GPRS connection (not EDGE) which isn't speedy but download speeds were satisfactory. If you have a Treo or a Tungsten type device (like me) you should have no trouble finding regular uses for the service.

Re:Observations after a short test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12221427)

Simple thing to fix this, just get a GPS Terminal in your car/whatever. Works with PDA's, and is great.

SMSTerm (1)

nikhilwiz (176218) | more than 9 years ago | (#12217089)


SMSTerm allows you to run a terminal over SSH. I wrote it to monitor servers from class. Its old, but still works. I use ICQ's SMS gateway. Get it at http://freshmeat.net/projects/smsterm/ [freshmeat.net]
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