Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Google Maps GPS Simulator

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the google-where-you-are dept.

Google 205

garbletext writes "A new version of Google Maps introduced this week includes a beta feature dubbed My Location that was designed to simulate the GPS experience on mobile phones and handheld devices that do not include GPS hardware, like Apple's iPhone. Essentially, the My Location feature takes information broadcast from mobile towers near non-GPS equipped mobile phones to approximate the device's current location on the map down to about 10 city blocks. "It's not GPS, but it comes pretty close (approximately 1000m close, on average)," the Mountain View, Calif.-based search giant explained on its website. "We're still in beta, but we're excited to launch this feature and are constantly working to improve our coverage and accuracy." The My Location feature is currently available for most web-enabled mobile phones, including Java, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and Nokia/Symbian devices."

cancel ×

205 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

iPhone (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21512369)

Except this doesn't actually work on iPhone.

Re:iPhone (2, Informative)

bconway (63464) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512491)

Don't worry, that was covered in the article.

The My Location feature is currently available for most web-enabled mobile phones, including Java, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and Nokia/Symbian devices. However, it is not yet compatible with Apple's iPhone.

Still, Apple has promised to continuously update and improve upon the feature set of its inaugural mobile handset, making it more than likely that the feature will turn up once it emerges from the beta stage.

Re:iPhone (4, Funny)

Achromatic1978 (916097) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512593)

once it emerges from the beta stage.

So, knowing Google, it'll be ready for the iPhone 6G in 2013?

Re:iPhone (1)

DigitAl56K (805623) | more than 6 years ago | (#21513129)

No, knowing Google, it's already the final version!

SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21512393)

_0_
\''\
'=o='
.|!|
.| |
Google maps goatse simulator [goatse.ch]

gaygle life invador? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21512397)

all your gaygles belong to us

Read more here (-1, Troll)

Therapist of Slashdo (1195429) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512417)

From the horses mouth. as shown here. [google.com]

For $200... (5, Funny)

Eco-Mono (978899) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512495)

Given your posting record thus far, I'm gonna side with Sean Connery on this one and say that you're missing a space after that "e".

Re:For $200... (1)

More_Cowbell (957742) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512961)

Ah, if I could have picked up on the SNL reference a few seconds sooner. :(
Alas I did not know you were referring to his user name.

WARNING: Obscured Shocksite Redirect (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512711)

Add parent to lameness filter for obscured URL.

Re:Read more here (2, Informative)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21513421)

Stupid I know, but until slash starts cradling us with some form of protection, I wrote the following

javascript:(function(){
var i,x,l,h;
        for(i=0;x=document.links[i];++i){
        l=x.href.toLowerCase();
        if(l.indexOf('google')>=0 && l.indexOf('btni')>=0) {
                x.href = x.href.replace(/btni/gi, "btnG");
                h=document.createTextNode("[I'm Feeling unlucky]");
                x.parentNode.insertBefore(h, x.nextSibling);
        }
} })()

incorporate into greasemonkey or your own standard method and forget about feeling lucky.

Is this a google vulnerability though or just creative thinking?
If google actually checked the link and rejected commands if invalid parameter data is present then we would land on a harmless search page no matter what.

(incidentally, will some regex wiz work their magic on the initial link test)

Wow! This is exactly what I always wanted!!! (5, Funny)

rustalot42684 (1055008) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512421)

Now I can pay to have my cellphone tell me I'm somewhere in downtown Toronto. Just what I've always wanted - I always keep forgetting these minor details.

Re:Wow! This is exactly what I always wanted!!! (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512461)

You're saying you'd rather type in "Toronto", on a cell phone, rather than just have Google Maps know already?

What, are you some kind of privacy nut? (rim shot)

Re:Wow! This is exactly what I always wanted!!! (2, Insightful)

colonslash (544210) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512477)

That's better than somewhere in Canada; a map zoomed in to near your current location could be much more helpful, especially because of slow networks and high bandwidth costs

Re:Wow! This is exactly what I always wanted!!! (3, Informative)

Fyre2012 (762907) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512619)

I've used the service on my Blackberry 8800 in downtown toronto, and in my experience I was able to narrow my location down to within 10 meters or so on any given downtown street.
It even points in the direction you're moving
Pretty neet to have it using the satelite view as well. Very quick and responsive, and you can always just press '0' to go to 'my location'
Works well using directions too... you just tell it to use 'my location' as a starting or destination point.

Tho it doesn't work indoors... at all.
ymmv =)

Re:Wow! This is exactly what I always wanted!!! (1)

the_wishbone (1018542) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512737)

Your Blackberry 8800 has an actual GPS receiver in it...TFA is talking about triangulating your location based on cell tower locations. Completely different. This is meant for phones WITHOUT GPS.

Re:Wow! This is exactly what I always wanted!!! (1)

absent_speaker (905145) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512971)

Yes, but many 8800's have their GPS disabled. Verizon + AT&T both disable the GPS unless you fork over the $10 for their proprietary navigation systems.

Re:Wow! This is exactly what I always wanted!!! (2, Interesting)

Fyre2012 (762907) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512999)

Hm, interesting... when I check the GPS status in my options, it says it's disabled and the coordinates are all 0's, so I was always baffled when I got a blue dot on google maps.

Re:Wow! This is exactly what I always wanted!!! (2, Interesting)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#21514213)

Yes, but people running the MyLocation version who DO have GPS are helping those of us with Blackberry Curves that don't have built in GPS. Google is taking the GPS data, correlating it to the tower identifiers the cellphone is picking up at the time, and building a database for triangulation. Not only can they provide that data to their users, but they then could resell that data like Navteq sells driving direction data.

Re:Wow! This is exactly what I always wanted!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21513433)

It even points in the direction you're moving
Guess what - *I* point in the direction I'm moving!

Re:Wow! This is exactly what I always wanted!!! (2, Insightful)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512769)

lol that's not what it will tell you. When you're inside a building it will tell you you're 2 miles away from the tower. And in the elevator it will tell you you're 4 miles away from the tower. And as soon as you walk out, you're suddenly one mile from the tower! All it can go by is the signal strength as far as I know. That's so stupid. With one tower, it can tell you you're somewhere on a ring around the tower. With two it can approximate a linear area that you're in. With 3 towers it can tell you where you are. Even with 3, it won't be accurate because signal strength goes up and down. Plus with multiple towers, they'd kinda have to be owned by the same network and have the same radio tower technology and receivers or it wouldn't work very well.
Just get a damn GPS phone, people.

Re:Wow! This is exactly what I always wanted!!! (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512941)

Wow, Google is better than I thought. Now, the (my) body will be in two places at once.

(I had to borrow a modified phrase from Captain Crain of the Seaview, when the enemy agent in Sickbay hosed their INS (inertial navigation system), in the episode "Hail to the Chief"; her brain-cooking MK-G machine at full power threw off Seaview's compass in the Control Room (proximity of the MK-G), but not in Maneuvering Control... Crain got reports on the two directions, and, frustrated as hell, he proclaimed to Adm. Nelson, "This submarine is better than I THOUGHT! We can travel in two directions at the same time! Funny as hell. I'm starting to RELIKE VTTBOTS, despite the wooden sets, guide wires towing the sub, and repeated cannibalized stock footage.... Ahh, nostalgia...)

Now, how to get some NSA access for Google?

If you think you're being tracked, give or drop your cell phone on someone. Your clothes (especially the shoes and any metallic keys -- even the chip in your ass or pelvis if one's there), too if you think somethings affixed to you. Do it in an elevator (with no camera). Now, they'll have agents running all over the building they KNOW you entered. (Your mission: figure out how to get out or get into ANOTHER building where you can put on some clothes and dye or cut your hair, etc...)

Re:Wow! This is exactly what I always wanted!!! (1)

DigitAl56K (805623) | more than 6 years ago | (#21513005)

Even with 3, it won't be accurate because signal strength goes up and down.

It won't be "accurate" regardless, but it will still be ballpark. Your examples are nisleading. If you're in a building, or an elevator for that matter (per your example), the signal strength is degraded for all nearby towers and thus you can still be triangulated in the same way.

Obviously a GPS-enabled phone is still the best solution.

Re:Wow! This is exactly what I always wanted!!! (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | more than 6 years ago | (#21513455)

Except your GPS-enabled phone won't be able to reach its satellites *at all* inside that elevator, which makes your Google approximation better by process of elimination ;)

The only solution is GPS + IMU (inertial motion unit), which will track your movements via accelerometer while you are without GPS signal, and resync when it reacquires. I look forward to buying my own $5000, 4-lb phone!

Re:Wow! This is exactly what I always wanted!!! (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#21514219)

If they use the miniature laser-based accelerometers used in Segways, and include them in mass production, the cost wouldn't rise too high.

Re:Wow! This is exactly what I always wanted!!! (1)

Random Destruction (866027) | more than 6 years ago | (#21513039)

With two it can approximate a linear area that you're in.
The intersection of 2 circles on a plane is 2 points, not a line.

Re:Wow! This is exactly what I always wanted!!! (1)

DigitAl56K (805623) | more than 6 years ago | (#21513753)

You could take the union.

Re:Wow! This is exactly what I always wanted!!! (1)

kc2keo (694222) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512777)

I also wonder how long it will remain in Beta. Maybe it will be like Gmail.

Re:Wow! This is exactly what I always wanted!!! (3, Funny)

ashitaka (27544) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512807)

Remember, this is just telling you where you are, not where you should or would like to be.

Which probably isn't in downtown Toronto.

And no matter where you go, there you are.

1 KM (0.6 miles) is close? (2, Insightful)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512431)

So, hypothetically speaking, if I had been driving to my relatives' house on, say, Thanksgiving, and I possibly took a right turn instead of a left one and ended up 3 miles away before turning back, I was, in theory, also pretty close?

Re:1 KM (0.6 miles) is close? (2, Insightful)

ConcreteJungle (1177207) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512497)

Not every invention you see started off being perfectly usable. That's what development is for. The very cellphones that one will be using this on were not exactly convenient to carry around once upon a time, were they?

Re:1 KM (0.6 miles) is close? (2, Insightful)

DigitAl56K (805623) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512845)

Yes, 1KM is pretty close for a non-GPS-equipped phone.

Think about the workflow - Google Maps can automatically zoom you in to a really small area of global mapping data, and in most cases you're going to want to browse 1KM or greater anyway to have an overview of where you are, what the nearby roads are, and where you are going. You can easily zoom in and out or scroll around from there, getting to exactly what you want to view in seconds.

The alternative is to have you sit there and type in your location, which perhaps you don't even know (but could recognize if you could see the nearby road layouts or satellite view), or to have you zoom all the way down from the continental map of the US manually over a cell connection (i.e. quite slowly).

If you had to drive to your relatives on Thanksgiving you would have used this feature to get ballpark, and then corrected it, and then typed in a destination. Hopefully, though, you know where your relatives live :P

Side: I just got an 8310 (Blackberry Curve), it has GPS built in and with a fix of 5 satellites it seems to be accurate to about 10 meters or less, and this feature also works with Google Maps (as well as MapQuest, TeleNav, Blackberry maps, and maybe some others I haven't tried).

Re:1 KM (0.6 miles) is close? (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#21514231)

How did your Curve come with GPS? Mine comes with the ability to pair to a Bluetooth-enabled GPS receiver, but does not include GPS functionality built in. Sad day =(

Re:1 KM (0.6 miles) is close? (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21513523)

Relatively speaking.

Still... (3, Insightful)

E. T. Moonshade (591333) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512443)

It's not terribly useful if you're truly lost. Once they can get the triangulation between towers to work better, it'll be pretty damn slick. Until then, 'tis just a toy.

Re:Still... (1)

Snowbeam (96416) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512605)

For a toy, it has been fun to use so far. Of course this is just with locations I know. The truth in the end is that there's room for a lot of improvement. Alas, for something that is free, it is pretty sweet.

Re:Still... (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512615)

It's not terribly useful if you're truly lost.
Define truly lost.

If you're "truly lost" in [major city] then stop and ask someone.

If you're "truly lost" out in the middle of nowhere, a 10 city block guesstimate from your phone is more than enough to get you back on the right path.

For anything in between those two extremes, I can't imagine how the guesstimate won't be helpful. I mean... how lost can you be that you don't know what street you're on? And you're staring at a map.

Re:Still... (1)

E. T. Moonshade (591333) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512787)

My bad, should've clarified that one. When I say 'truly lost', I mean out in the middle of nowhere - meaning you're likely out of reach of a cell tower anyway. Y'know, like 29 Palms, CA.
Seriously though, somewhere like in the middle of a national park, where you've got heavy foliage that makes it so signal won't quite get there (disclaimer: I haven't actually been to a national park with a cell phone). If you could get an estimate to within a kilometer, that'd be cool, but from what I know of RF, you'd have to have a tower pretty close - and in that case, you could just make a phone call.

Re:Still... (1)

totally bogus dude (1040246) | more than 6 years ago | (#21513699)

Umm... how would you be accessing Google Maps if you don't have any cell coverage at all? How are they going to triangulate between towers you have no reception from?

I think you're trying to solve an entirely different problem. ;)

Re:Still... (2, Informative)

centinall (868713) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512781)

If you do have GPS on your phone you'll find that it probably IS "useful if you're truly lost". For those that don't have GPS and until they can get the triangulation between towers to work better you might be right that it's just a toy. However, it will certain save some time bringing up a map of your general vicinity.

See your location on the map, with or without GPS. Save time and tedious keystrokes finding where you are, what's around you, and how to get there.

If you have a GPS-enabled device, this blue dot corresponds to your GPS location. At times, or if you do not have a GPS-enabled phone you might see the blue dot surrounded by a light blue circle (as shown on the right) to indicate uncertainty about your location.


That article was lame and not very informative. Better link: http://www.google.com/mobile/gmm/mylocation/index.html [google.com]

Nor for finding Starbucks (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512825)

"You're within 1000m of coffee. Can you smell it yet?". Thanks!

Re:Still... (1)

rindeee (530084) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512843)

It is indeed very useful, if you can eyeball either sat imagery or a topo map (both of which are available from Google of course) you can easily identify exactly where you're at. The problem with doing this (normally) is two fold. First, you have to have access to the map (Google of course had solved this already). Second, you have to know what map to view, or in this case, what portion of the Earth to look at and establish you location. In this case, Google is simply pulling the right map for you...you can do the rest. Of course this isn't really comparable to a GPS, but it is quite useful in a pinch if you're someplace completely foreign to you. I'll use it.

Re: It will never happen on GSM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21512855)

Unlike CDMA networks, you are never connected to more than one tower with GSM. GSM is an archaic piece of crap that needs to go away. Unfortunately, it is also the most widely deployed technology, so that is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

1000 metres on *average*? (3, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512465)

Um... What's the standard deviation on that?

While I like the sentiment, I suspect the usefulness is going to be... limited... It'll be as easy to put in the street names and such.

 

Re:1000 metres on *average*? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21513205)

It will be extremely useful. One keypress ('0') instead of typing in an address, city and state with T9 (can be pretty painful).
 

MapPoint? (4, Informative)

phatvw (996438) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512493)

I believe MapPoint Location Server [microsoft.com] had these same features based on GPRS/GSM available back in 2004. For a price of course :)

Another alternative (1)

phatvw (996438) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512827)

http://www.nav4all.com/ [nav4all.com] - I haven't tried this so I can't vouch for it, but it looks interesting and is also free.

Note that when people say "GPS" in the context of cellphones, they are usually talking about GPRS/GSM location-based services which use celltower triangulation. There are very few cellphones that have GPS satellite antennas, although there are a few Bluetooth GPS add-on devices available.

Re:Another alternative (1)

ShmuelP (5675) | more than 6 years ago | (#21513469)

I believe that is true only for the GSM carriers. Most CDMA carriers put some GPS hardware on the phones that, together with information from the tower, can compute the position (on the provider's side).

Re:Another alternative (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21514177)

> There are very few cellphones that have GPS satellite antennas,

Nokia have quite a few available. I tried to use the 'search by feature' facility on this [nokia.com] site to figure out how many, but I just don't believe the results. I know there are at least 'several' though.

Some of them also have an assisted gps feature which seems to work similarly to this new google feature, though I don't think it works at all if the phone doesn't have gps. I read somewhere that Nokia intend to implement it on all their GPS phones via firmware upgrades.

I've also seen some phones running 'MS Windows something' with GPS too (which worked much better than the N95 I had at the time).

Of course, that's still 'very few' in the whole 'phone' market, but it's a fast growing segment of the smartphone market.

Navizon alternative (1)

BovineOne (119507) | more than 6 years ago | (#21514091)

http://www.navizon.com/ [navizon.com] is another alternative that uses a community-based approach to build its database of cell tower and wifi access point locations. Users who want to use the service pay a small fee, while users who have a GPS can get paid for contributing location data.

Since Navizon also combines wifi access points (which are generally have shorter ranges), it can theoretically narrow down your position even more accurately than relying just on cell towers.

It could be useful (5, Insightful)

xarien (1073084) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512499)

The usefulness will come from the fact that you now have a localized map of roughly where you are. As long as you think of it as a personalized map service instead of a GPS replacement service, it still quite handy

Re:It could be useful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21512921)

Exactly: if you already know roughly where you are (or even exactly where you are), but don't know where the nearest Taco Bell is -- this is very useful. Or which freeway is closest.

It's not useful for finding yourself if you're lost, but it is awesome for finding out where to go.

Re:It could be useful (1)

asavage (548758) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512953)

Now if only on my cellphone (samsung a920) I didn't get a permission check to access the network whenever I scroll the map it would be useful. Google's gmail application has this same problem for each message I open plus I get a runtime exception "method not implemented" whenever I start the gmail application. It works fine for some reason after I manually retype my password. Other applications don't have this problem such as with opera mini I only need to give it permission once or if it has been inactive for a few minutes.

Re:It could be useful (1)

The Evil Couch (621105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21514125)

The usefulness will come from the fact that you now have a localized map of roughly where you are. As long as you think of it as a personalized map service instead of a GPS replacement service, it still quite handy

Or, you could use Google Maps as it exists right now, look at a nearby landmark, like an address or a street sign, punch that into the "Find location" field and find exactly where you are with almost no guesswork. Sure, the tech is interesting, but currently it doesn't do anything that you can't do with Google Maps as it exists right now and the ability to read road signs.

It doesn't work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21512523)

I downloaded it to my phone and I hit Zero many times and it still hasn't shown me the blue dot. Is there something special I have to do?

Re:It doesn't work? (1)

CyberSnyder (8122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512675)

Make sure you actually have version 2.0.0. I've been trying to download it for my Treo since noon and still get the older verison even though the link says 2.0.0.

Re:It doesn't work? (2, Informative)

PayPaI (733999) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512773)

I downloaded it on my phone (samsung m500 on sprint) and while it's definitely the new version (double checked in the help/about) it says My Location isn't supported on this device. Also they changed the buttons around, it seems to only use 0-9 and the 4way directional, rather than using the button in the middle of the 4way and the * and # keys.

Re:It doesn't work? (1)

matt_martin (159394) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512851)

Rumor has it there will be no new version for PalmOS, despite the "download version 2.0 on your palm Treo 700p here" link on the site. But, you know, rumors are rumors and maybe somebody just screwed up the web site...

Re:It doesn't work? (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#21514343)

I think it's only supported in some locations - something at the end of their little video [youtube.com] suggested as much; "You might get an error message. If so, try again at another location nearby."

I get the message, "Your current location is temporarily unavailable." (which made me smile).

Out of beta.. (0, Troll)

ContractualObligatio (850987) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512527)

Apple has promised to continuously update and improve upon the feature set of its inaugural mobile handset, making it more than likely that the feature will turn up once it emerges from the beta stage.


Oh, good, once a Google feature gets out of beta iPhone users can expect support. That'll only be a couple of years, then...

Re:Out of beta.. (2)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 6 years ago | (#21513237)

Oh, good, once a Google feature gets out of beta iPhone users can expect support. That'll only be a couple of years, then...
Gmail is still in beta, the iPhone will never get support, mwahaha!

The few posters so far really lack imagination (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512533)

No, it's not going to tell you your exact location. But if you need to get somewhere it can give you direct starting within 1000 feet of where you are.

It is NOT for Geo caching, or to give you constant real time updates as you hurl down the road.
So if you are in downtown Toronto and decide you want to check out the new book store in BF Canada, you can get a close start position on Google maps. If you can't figure it our from there, then please stop using technology.Any technology.

Re:The few posters so far really lack imagination (1)

R4nneko (1194727) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512997)

1000m, not feet so roughly 3 times as much error. However, your point still stands, if you cannot find yourself on a localised map where you know you are within a couple of klicks of the centre, you shouldn't be using technology.

Re:The few posters so far really lack imagination (2, Informative)

beav007 (746004) | more than 6 years ago | (#21513043)

Incorrect. According to the summary, it's within 1000m (1km, 3280 feet, 7143 linguine, 108 double decker buses, or more than 7 brontosaurii) of where you are - significantly more than 1000 feet, and much less useful.

Free unit conversion tool [theregister.co.uk]

Re:The few posters so far really lack imagination (1)

MonkeyboyITP (892442) | more than 6 years ago | (#21513643)

Well actually keeping with the theme of Google you can even use Google for the conversion;

search: 1000 m to ft
and your first result will be: 1 000 meters = 3 280.8399 feet

But still you have the whole map at your disposal you should be able to at least orient yourself based on what they give you.

The few posters so far really lack basic skills (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21513113)

I don't need any fancy technology to do all that. Give me a map and a street intersection and I'm there. Or just call the store for directions.

Re:The few posters so far really lack imagination (1)

Craig Davison (37723) | more than 6 years ago | (#21513155)

It's also a good starting point when you bring up the map. A map of the surrounding area of 1000m x 1000m in your palm is very useful. You could hilight all the bookstores or subway stations within that area, or if you're lost, you might recognize the street name you're on at a glance.

Re:The few posters so far really lack imagination (1)

beav007 (746004) | more than 6 years ago | (#21513307)

The map would actually need to be circular with a radius of 1000m (or a 2000mx2000m square) just to give you a reasonable chance of being on it. Don't forget that 1000m is only an average. It could be much more than that.

Re:The few posters so far really lack imagination (1)

The Evil Couch (621105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21514279)

Google Maps for mobile devices automatically searches with the assumption that the center of your screen is where you're looking for. The map scrolls very easily, so you can move the map to the general area where you think you are and then punch in your search. It works. I do it all time.

You can get more exact results if you look at a street address and punch it into the "Find location" feature. The technology is cool. I think the concept of being able to automatically acquire my position without any additional gear is great, but being able to pin my location down to somewhere within a click is not all that useful. Especially when, if I'm willing to put forward slightly more effort than just starting the Google Maps app on my phone, I can narrow my position down to about 100 meters.

Not Exactly Global (3, Insightful)

cybermage (112274) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512545)

If it's based on the deployment of Cell towers, it's not exactly a *Global* Positioning System. I think GPSs are more useful in remote areas than urban ones and probably less dangerous [betanews.com] there too.

I think this product might lead people into a false sense of security:

"Hey, I think were lost out here in the middle of the Oregon woods in a blizzard. Better check the GPS on my iPhone.

"WTF?

"We're doomed!"

Re:Not Exactly Global (1)

ashitaka (27544) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512859)

I hope you aren't referring to the case [cnn.com] where Google maps or some other direction-giving site might have lead to the death of a well-known CNET editor.

No, it not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21512553)

"It's not GPS, but it comes pretty close (approximately 1000m close, on average),"

it's even close? GPS give approx 10m in proximity.

good. VZW can lick my sweaty... (0, Offtopic)

Nate Fox (1271) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512613)

I was so excited to get my sexy VZW Blackberry World Edition phone cause it had GPS. To later learn that the GPS is gimped and VZW wont let it talk to 3rd party apps.

Hopefully this gets me 'good enough' placement on the map.

Re:good. VZW can lick my sweaty... (1)

mmcuh (1088773) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512671)

More like "nowhere good enough", unless you're OK with ending up one kilometer from where you wanted to go.

It sorta worked (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512669)

It found my location to "within 2400 meters". It is about 2K off actually.

But I am impressed by the fact alone that it started zoomed right into my city. And I am connected with WiFi, not even GPRS.

Pretty swift if you ask me.

Re:It sorta worked (1)

RalphSleigh (899929) | more than 6 years ago | (#21513321)

I suspect it pulls the location information out of your GPRS signal even if you are using a wifi connection for the data transfer, its probably part of the phones java API.

Suffice to say it didn't work on my phone (The new motorola razor, despite the promise on googles page.)

Re:It sorta worked (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#21514247)

Agreed. My Blackberry Curve uses T-Mobile's HotSpot@Home to tunnel the voice and data over WiFi when available. Even though my phone showed that it was enabled (UMA icon active), MyLocation is still pulling the tower information from the GSM chipset.

Re:It sorta worked (2, Informative)

stg (43177) | more than 6 years ago | (#21513459)

I think it's pretty cool. I tried through WiFi (as my packet data connection is awful AND pricy), and I wasn't within the limit it drew, but about 800 meters off. That, in a minor town in Brasil.

That is not revolutionary, but it's clearly very useful.

And I really like that it can use my phone's GPS (which was off for the test) - Google Maps is absurdly better than Nokia Maps, as far as directions and map data goes.

For those complaining of accuracy... (5, Insightful)

the_wishbone (1018542) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512717)

It may not be as accurate as full-on GPS, but now you can do searches for nearby businesses...without having to type in your location. I don't know how many times I've been looking for something NEARBY and either didn't know what zip code or city I was in (keep in mind in a place like LA, something might be nearby but technically in a different city, and sometimes it wouldn't find things unless you gave it specific locations - I know this from experience). I finally resorted to doing a browser Google search because the maps app just wasn't finding stuff.
 
I've also noticed that now, when you search without putting in a location (i.e. "pizza" instead of "pizza los angeles ca") it will search the nearby area visible on the map. With the previous version, for some reason, it kept giving me locations in the UK when I didn't specify a city/state in the US instead of just searching the area of the map that was currently visible.
 
Too bad the "My Location" feature doesn't currently work on Sprint Touch and Mogul phones (whether this is a Google or Sprint thing, who knows...) as it says the phones aren't reporting any cell towers (you can see this in Help>About where it says "myl: N/A". Oh, well...hopefully it will work sometime in the future.

Re:For those complaining of accuracy... (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21513563)

I've also noticed that now, when you search without putting in a location (i.e. "pizza" instead of "pizza los angeles ca") it will search the nearby area visible on the map. With the previous version, for some reason, it kept giving me locations in the UK when I didn't specify a city/state in the US instead of just searching the area of the map that was currently visible.

Slightly offtopic, but funny: This part of your post reminded me of William Gibson's "All Tomorrow's Parties", wherein a character gets a map of downtown Rio de Janeiro [wikipedia.org] while trying to find a place to eat in SoCal using his computing glasses. It's kind of a recurring problem throughout the novel :).

Well done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21512817)

1000m is not close to GPS. But it is a good development nevertheless.
Good job!

I tried to do something every similiar a few years back.
If the area has good GSM coverage, usually the handphone will be able to pick up signals from multiple "towers". With a bit of triangulation and intersection, you can get very good estimation of where you are.
But without the telco revealing their towers location, it will not be accurate.

sdsds (0, Troll)

rundgren (550942) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512913)

dfdfd

Source CNET article (1)

MishgoDog (909105) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512915)

Not sure why the post linked to an appleinsider article... this is a general google maps mobile thing.

Here's a more detailed article from cnet [news.com]

I can't wait to use it - it looks like they're using the beta to build up a database of towers around the world :)

Result for me - half block off (1)

JoshMKiV (548790) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512929)

Working pretty well on my BB - About one half block from exact location. Pretty cool for the price.

...but it's close? (1)

pablo_max (626328) | more than 6 years ago | (#21512965)

I don't think 1 km can really be considered close to gps. GPS needs to be "close enough" to tell you when you are coming to your exit at 140 kph. I still think that you can use this for basic by hand navigation. Just look for an intersection and then at least this tool will give you a smaller square in which to search for your present actual location. Then, you can set you location and ask how to get where you need to be. By no means can this replace a real navi, but in a pinch it can save your butt.

Privacy? (2, Insightful)

bhmit1 (2270) | more than 6 years ago | (#21513047)

Where are they getting the information about what tower you're connected to and how strong the signal is? If it's from the app running on the phone, and you selected to install the app (plus agree to a very long disclaimer) then I have fewer issues. But if they are getting the information from the phone company or from the network requests (e.g. http headers added by phone company) then I'd question if the phone company is giving away private information on their customers.

And if they get the information from the app on the phone, I'd be curious of what api's there are to do this ourselves and if that access infringes on some kind of separation between the phone and app that users and phone companies may want (e.g. apps dialing 900 numbers or racking up charges for sms messages without your knowledge).

(And FYI, testing this on a Sprint Treo 600 claims to download the 2.0 version, but it's really the 1.2 version after the installer runs, so it doesn't work for me yet.)

Re:Privacy? (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#21514263)

Google getting tower identifier information from the GSM chipset. You can pull it through a programming interface. BUT! The problem is, those tower identifiers have no geo-location information. So how does Google get it? Easily. The have the MyLocation Google Maps client running on GPS-enabled devices send back GPS coordinates with tower identifier information. As more and more people have the client running, Google gets a bigger database to play with. Once a significant dataset has been compiled, MyLocation data should be much more accurate (although, not as accurate as GPS).

Re:Privacy? (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#21514277)

I just wanted to add, the tower identified information isn't private. The phone has this information the same as it has diagnostic information from the tower on signal strength. Just as your phone can tell the tower signal strength, the tower send back info on how well it can pick up your phone. This is why phones placed near speakers will make the speakers hum when a call is incoming. The tower is commanding the phone to ramp up it's radio to a higher power output (something it doesn't need to know while simply pulling data from the control channel on the tower).

1000 metres range is incredibly useful you clods! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21513177)

a 1000 metre range is very useful e.g.

Movies @ nearest cinemas
Weather forecasts
Traffic congestion
Local News

Its a clever and evil breakthrough. Telcos have been trying to monetize LBS and google come right along and do it better with user contributed data! Whats the bet google will be selling this data back to carriers in a few years

How about for notebooks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21513239)

I have a datacard for the notebook. This would be handy for it too.

gn4a (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21513243)

Why not use the e911 GPS chip (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21513339)

Even though my phone doesn't have GPS application capabilities, it does have GPS for e911. There's a hidden service menu that has an option to enable the GPS test screen. All I have to do is enable the test screen and call the test number (922, which seems to forward to different things depending on where I am) to find out my location, velocity, altitude, etc.

I assume that GPS navigation software uses the same chip as e911, but service providers take the opportunity to charge customers extra for it (even though it costs them essentially nothing).

It's bot meant to be a GPS replacement (3, Insightful)

Jimmy_B (129296) | more than 6 years ago | (#21513375)

The purpose of this is not to tell you where you are. It's to get you to the right map, without needing to type a location using clumsy cell-phone input. Once you're looking at a map, you can figure out where you are by looking at street signs. Think of it as a road atlas which always opens to the right page.

Navizon does this on iPhone now (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21513395)

google Navizon

my mini review (2, Informative)

johnjones (14274) | more than 6 years ago | (#21513417)

OK
my review -

GOOD

My Location actually WORKS !
My Location works outside of the USA (at least in the UK)
well put together app not a resource hog on my symbian Nokia Series 60 v2 phone (e50)

BAD

you cant do ANYTHING with "My Location" except watch a pretty blue point on the map
No My Location for route finding
No traffic outside USA
Route does not work for a found location it adds a ")" at the end for some reason.

Nice but you need to actaully finish it or it's just a plaything

I am curious what Database of cell locations is google using do you gut think ?
(the phone companies often lie about locations in there headers so you have to build your own (wiggle) or use OFCOM in the uk)

regards

John Jones

http://www.johnjones.me.uk/ [johnjones.me.uk]

This seems like (1)

shelterpaw (959576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21513583)

This seems like it will be great technology when technology catches up............. wait a minute:\

Blackberry 7520 (1)

compwizrd (166184) | more than 6 years ago | (#21513701)

Too bad google maps won't use the built in GPS on my 7520... it'll talk to a bluetooth gps receiver though.

Though, with the below dialup speeds of the blackberry, and 8 dollar a meg transfer charges, I'm not sure I'd want to do much with google maps anyways.

"My location" doesn't work on this unit anyways.

Nice alternative (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 6 years ago | (#21514153)

Given that Google maps only finds my location on my GPS equipped Blackberry 8800 about 25% of the time, it will be nice to have an alternative. Now if they could just get traffic information that was worth a damn and actually works consistently. I haven't been able to get traffic information for my commute for the last two days. It says "No Traffic Information Available." despite the fact that I'm in downtown Los Angeles. Trust me, there is all sorts of traffic info available... I'm sitting in it. ;)

And what about the other major features? (2, Informative)

Lord Satri (609291) | more than 6 years ago | (#21514169)

A few other very interesting features were released this week for Google Maps... and I'm sorry that this story is all we got on /. so far. Here's a copy from the site in my sig.

Google Maps Adds Terrain
Google Lat Lon Blog [blogspot.com] announces the addition of terrain to their free Google Maps [google.com] site. In addition to adding the Terrain button, they've removed the Hybrid button. They explain, "You may notice in this screenshot that the handy "Hybrid" button, which shows satellite images overlaid with labels and roads, seems to have gone missing. Don't worry -- this view can now be accessed by clicking the "Satellite" button and checking the "Show labels" check box that will appear under the "Satellite" button."

New Google Maps Features Launched Including Collaborative Mapping
In addition to the important new terrain layer [slashgeo.org] announced yesterday, Google Maps received a few significant updates, first, Google Maps searches are now providing a thumbnail of the related street view photo [blogspot.com] , second, the My Maps feature somehow becomes Our Maps, allowing to collaborate directly on someone else's My Maps [blogspot.com] , this has a lot of potential of getting big, and last, you can more easily share KML and KMZ files and GeoRSS feeds through My Maps [blogspot.com] . From the Our Maps announcement: "Just click the "Collaborate" link and enter the email addresses of the people you want to invite. They'll receive an email invitation with a link to the map. Once they open the map, they should be able to edit it, as long as they are signed into a Google Account that's associated with that email address. You can also open your map to the world so anyone can edit it by selecting the "Allow anyone to edit this map" checkbox."

Works on my N75 (2, Informative)

w00d (91529) | more than 6 years ago | (#21514287)

I killed the old version I had (1.7-something), downloaded 2.0, fired it up. Nothing. "Your location is currently unavailable." Rebooted the phone, now it works great. It's showing the blue dot about half a block from my actual location. I'm well within the grey circle around the dot. Pretty awesome for not using GPS.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>