or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › New Google Maps feature could simulate GPS on iPhones
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

New Google Maps feature could simulate GPS on iPhones

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
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. 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.

For a more detailed explanation of My Location and a visual demonstration, please see the video below.
post #2 of 36
10 city blocks is a pretty big margin of error. Hmm. This would not be very useful inside NYC or LA, for example.
post #3 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider View Post

10 city blocks is a pretty big margin of error. Hmm. This would not be very useful inside NYC or LA, for example.

I agree. The are still working to update all their tower info, so hopefully it will improve.

Best,

K
EIC- AppleInsider.com
Questions and comments to : kasper@appleinsider.com
Reply
EIC- AppleInsider.com
Questions and comments to : kasper@appleinsider.com
Reply
post #4 of 36
well, it's still very good for a lot of google maps features like looking up nearby businesses. i've always disliked having to find the address of my location in order to find nearby businesses. even within a ten block radius this is a useful feature for that. not so great for turn by turn directions obviously, but better than nothing. if you can't find the guided route within ten blocks, then you're not that good at finding your way around.
post #5 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

making it more than likely that the feature will turn up once it emerges from the beta stage

1) I hope Apple adds it before then as Google likes to keep their web apps in beta for years.

2) I love the simplicity of the video.

3) We've had a lengthy discussion about the range of different cell technologies on these forums about a year ago. The 1000M range is a really a worst case scenario for rural areas.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #6 of 36
Will it have features like turn by turn voice prompts and automatic rerouting if you go off course? If not, then I would rather have someone make a mapping application for the iPhone which can be paired with a bluetooth GPS receiver.
post #7 of 36
Navizon does this already on the iPhone.
post #8 of 36
Navizon does this very poorly on the iPhone, you mean.
post #9 of 36
Navizon does this very poorly for anyone foolish enough to hack their iPhone, you mean.
post #10 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by rawhead View Post

Navizon does this very poorly on the iPhone, you mean.

Works fairly well for me in NYC.... it gets closer than the quoted Google average of 1km.
post #11 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by chameleon View Post

Navizon does this very poorly for anyone foolish enough to hack their iPhone, you mean.

Yeah, I'm foolishly getting a lot more utility and fun out of mine.
post #12 of 36
FCC mandates that all cellphones be capable of identifying a 911 caller to an accuracy of 50-300 meters. Link to E-911 Therefore, we know that the iPhone is already capable of doing much better than 1000m. Likely it can do 50m, and if they'd just include an onboard GPS chip, it would locate you on a Google Map within a couple of feet.
post #13 of 36
I agree with above... no it's not the ideal solution for getting me to grandma's house... but if I'm driving on the interstate between cities, it will get me across the country. And, it would be nice when you open GoogleMaps on the iPhone to click one button to zoom the map to close to where you are. When you are out driving, it is awkward as heck to type in the name of an intersection your passing... while you're passing it.. to get a rough look at where you are.

I think it will be a TERRIFIC and useful feature.


Jiim
post #14 of 36
Compared to a real GPS unit, this is terrible. I don't care what Google says.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply
post #15 of 36
I don't think this is a surprise at all. It always seemed that Google Maps was half the idea.
post #16 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Outsider View Post

10 city blocks is a pretty big margin of error. Hmm. This would not be very useful inside NYC or LA, for example.

Tho... it should be great in Vegas... Given each one of those casinos **IS** 10 city blocks long (and wide)

D
Apple Fanboy: Anyone who started liking Apple before I did!
Reply
Apple Fanboy: Anyone who started liking Apple before I did!
Reply
post #17 of 36
just the update to google maps was great , new menus
post #18 of 36
Google Maps for Mobile is a Java (J2ME) application, and thus will not work for iPhones because iPhones cannot run Java apps or games.

http://www.google.com/gmm/index.html
post #19 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by asj2007 View Post

Google Maps for Mobile is a Java (J2ME) application, and thus will not work for iPhones because iPhones cannot run Java apps or games.

http://www.google.com/gmm/index.html

Ummm... iPhones have a native Google Maps app. And I have lots of games on mine.
post #20 of 36
I think this is going to be very useful for finding "the nearest" something. It's what I do now. I basically position the map to show me a few mile radius of where I am, and have it search for "mcdonalds" or whatever, and the pins fly down to show me all the ones in the area. This will help me here, since it will do that initial general positioning for me.

What it's not very good for is turn by turn since it hasn't got a decent starting position, but in my case that's not usually what I'm needing.

P.S. But yep I'm getting a GPS enabled iPhone the day one shows up.
post #21 of 36
1km accuracy? Thought phone towers would do a better job than that. Its never going to be within a few metres like GPS, but within a few hundred would be more like it.
post #22 of 36
http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/...e-users_1.html

"Google Maps with My Location will use GPS data to locate the user if the phone has the capability."

"A user pulls up Google Maps and hits the zero key on the phone. A blue dot will appear on the map in the user's location. If the service used GPS in the phone, the blue dot will be solid. If the service used cell towers to determine the location, the blue dot will have a halo around it, indicating that the location isn't precise."

"Google says the cell tower technique will locate the user within about 1000 meters. It doesn't use triangulation, which calculates a user location based on the user's distance to three nearby towers. Instead, it essentially shows the range of the tower that the user's phone is connecting to."

The problem is that the iPhone does not have a built in GPS, nor can it communicate with an external GPS receiver. If Apple does not want to put a GPS in the iPhone, they should at least allow users to pair the iPhone with a bluetooth gps unit and run their choice of mapping software.
post #23 of 36
Hmmm, won't load past the Terms and Conditions page on my SE phone. The previous version worked.

Never mind, I've got TomTom Mobile and MGMaps (uses Google or Yahoo) on the phone still and those are better.

I wonder when Apple will update the iPhone version. Surely there must be a new firmware release soon. There's been no real new features on the iPhone since launch.
post #24 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by aegisdesign View Post

I wonder when Apple will update the iPhone version. Surely there must be a new firmware release soon. There's been no real new features on the iPhone since launch.

This update depends on how closely Apple is working with Google. Hoepfully it will come out with the 1.1.3 update, but I'm guessing it'll be in the 1.2.x versioning.

I, too, have a Tom Tom--which kicks ass--so I have no need for a GPS in my cell phone to drain my battery. I also don't want a camera in my cell phone but I obviously don't speak for the majority. C'est la vie.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #25 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I, too, have a Tom Tom--which kicks ass--so I have no need for a GPS in my cell phone to drain my battery. I also don't want a camera in my cell phone but I obviously don't speak for the majority. C'est la vie.

I have TomTom Mobile running ON my mobile phone, not a separate TomTom box. It doesn't drain my mobile as it's plugs in to the power socket. It's got almost all the features of a TomTom Go box but with a 3" screen, which is the only downside. I was using someone else's TomTom Go XL today. Nice size although it did crash a couple of times on a 4 hour trip.
post #26 of 36
A few things:

Accuracy: (This has already been talked about, but never the less...)
Urban Areas – Accuracy is usually around 50m. While this isn't perfect obviously, if you can see a street sign or a landmark building in an urban area, you know exactly where you are within the approximated region and you didn't have to type anything in to the phone to do this.
Adjustment – If google maps allows you to adjust your dot in a drag and drop manner, the problem of (lack of) accuracy is improved. All I have to do is look at a building or street sign, find it on the map, and slide my dot over to that intersection or building. This is made even easier with Satellite imagery.
Rural Areas – Accuracy will be approximately 100m. If you are in a rural area, however, a 100m range is nothing compared to the density of rural areas. For instance, rural blocks are 1 square mile, usually, so My Location will tell you what road you are on as there are no other roads around!

Most cell phones that use what is referred to as "GPS" is actually A-GPS, Assisted GPS, which uses a combination of regular GPS and cell phone triangulation to improve accuracy in poor-signal conditions.
post #27 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by randykato View Post

Ummm... iPhones have a native Google Maps app. And I have lots of games on mine.

Wake me up when you have games that are more than simplistic widgets:

http://www.michaelyuan.com/blog/2007...mobile-phones/

The fact that the iPhone cannot currently run the thousands of free third party games and apps out there is a big negative for many people.

PS. I guess you'll just have to wait IF they ever update your "native" google app...meanwhile, most people can just download and try out the new google app TODAY.

"In order to use the service, phone owners must download a free application from Google. The application will work on BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and Symbian phones as well as many phones that support Java"

http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/...e-users_1.html
post #28 of 36
Quote:
The fact that the iPhone cannot currently run the thousands of free third party games and apps out there is a big negative for many people.

Really? I don't know anyone who knows how to get free games into their standard AT&T/Verizon/Sprint/ Whatever-else phones. Most people if they want games shell out a couple bucks to download them from the wireless provider.

I would bet that the logical course would be downloaded games from the 'iTunes on iPhone" store... along with music and eventually TV Shows / Movies. (I don't just mean the WiFi store, but over the wireless network)
"Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school." -- Albert Einstein
Reply
"Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school." -- Albert Einstein
Reply
post #29 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Haggar View Post

Will it have features like turn by turn voice prompts and automatic rerouting if you go off course? If not, then I would rather have someone make a mapping application for the iPhone which can be paired with a bluetooth GPS receiver.

With a thousandm accuracy? It doesn't actually know where you are, or if you missed a turn until you're well past it.

Besides, I doubt if it can do any of it.

At any rate, 10 city blocks varies depending on whether they are avenue block directions or street directions. 10 street direction blocks is much shorter than 1 Km.

So what direction are they talking about?
post #30 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogcow View Post

Really? I don't know anyone who knows how to get free games into their standard AT&T/Verizon/Sprint/ Whatever-else phones. Most people if they want games shell out a couple bucks to download them from the wireless provider.

Must be real hard to use your mobile browser to surf to a website and click on a download link

And btw, so what if you need to pay a few bucks for some good games or apps? It's a capitalistic society right? At least they CAN download real apps and games, not just browser widgets
post #31 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by asj2007 View Post

Must be real hard to use your mobile browser to surf to a website and click on a download link

A lot of phone companies don't let you download any games, or whatever, except for specially written ones from their own link, unless, that is, you have a smartphone.

9quote]
And btw, so what if you need to pay a few bucks for some good games or apps? It's a capitalistic society right? At least they CAN download real apps and games, not just browser widgets [/QUOTE]

I'd be willing to bet that not too long after the SDK becomes available, we'll see plenty of "real" games, and programs. A lot of Palm, Win Mobile, Blackberry, and Symbian developers will find the iPhone to be just dandy, even if Apple limits them in some way.
post #32 of 36
Quote:
PS. I guess you'll just have to wait IF they ever update your "native" google app...meanwhile, most people can just download and try out the new google app TODAY.

That depends on if you want to use it right now with beta flaws and all. Or patient enough to wait after some refinement and it works better.

Quote:
Will it have features like turn by turn voice prompts and automatic rerouting if you go off course? If not, then I would rather have someone make a mapping application for the iPhone which can be paired with a bluetooth GPS receiver.

It will be interesting to see what Apple will do. Maps on the iPhone already has a routing feature but it does not know where you are at all times. Apple may not use My Location until this has all been worked out.
post #33 of 36
What an awesome video! I like when big companies go lo fi, and it was really well explained. I think it's a useful function. I tried the same function back in 2003 or so when it was introduced in Sweden. Telia had it working already by then, and I must say it was pretty useful.
I think it is likely that it'll show up in iPhone.
post #34 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

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."

Sounds like Google is taking too much credit here. If it's in their J2ME app, aren't they just calling the existing API to get the location on devices that support it? Or have they worked out some deal to directly access tower info from providers? If it's the former, I don't see how Google is "constantly working to improve" it, as it's just a built in feature of the phone. If the latter ... can you say privacy issues?!?
post #35 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by asj2007 View Post

PS. I guess you'll just have to wait IF they ever update your "native" google app...meanwhile, most people can just download and try out the new google app TODAY.

Nope, no need to wait. I'm using Navizon TODAY.
post #36 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmjoe View Post

Sounds like Google is taking too much credit here. If it's in their J2ME app, aren't they just calling the existing API to get the location on devices that support it? Or have they worked out some deal to directly access tower info from providers? If it's the former, I don't see how Google is "constantly working to improve" it, as it's just a built in feature of the phone. If the latter ... can you say privacy issues?!?

There is no privacy issue. Google cannot tell a name or number, just that a cellphone (any cellphone) exists in a certain location.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: iPhone
AppleInsider › Forums › Mobile › iPhone › New Google Maps feature could simulate GPS on iPhones