Google Freshens Mobile Applications in Time for CTIA
Google launches two applications for mobile and wireless gadgets this week as CTIA comes to a close. Search for My Location is available now on Microsoft Windows Mobile devices to help users find businesses closest to them through cellular triangulation, while Google Mobile App for RIM's BlackBerry devices launches to requests for Google Talk support.
There's nothing like the CTIA show to tease fresh mobile software out of
companies, which is probably why Google this week introduced two fun mobile applications.
Sept. 11, the company launched Search with My Location, an app that leverages Google's Gears Geolocation API to make it easier for users to find businesses close to them on their Windows Mobile phones.
This is a big deal. As Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president of search products and user experience, pointed out earlier this week, searches based on users' locations will be table stakes for the future of search engines. Expect Nokia, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and others with plots in mobile to move the location needle forward.
Google seems to have done that with Search with My Location. Previously, when you went to Google.com from your phone's browser and ran a local search, the results were tailored to the last location you entered. Search with My Location will approximate your actual location using the same Cell ID technology used by Google maps for mobile.
That means you can type in types of restaurants or night clubs, and the Google app will return relevant options, thanks to the Gears Geolocation API. You can also broaden the search by entering a restaurant type, such as Mexican, and the city you're in, say, San Francisco. You'll probably get an option for Colibri, a fab Mexican joint on Geary Street.
When Google first announced the Cell ID technology, which uses cellular phone towers to triangulate your position to tailor results, for Google maps for mobile, users were a bit put off by the notion that Google was tracking them.
To allay those fears, Google promised that Search with My Location was designed so that it doesn't associate your location with any personally identifiable information, even if you are logged in. Also, "We won't send your location until you explicitly opt in, and you can always opt out from the Gears Settings under the Tools menu," the company said.
Search with My Location is available in the United States and the United Kingdom. Users can visit google.com from their phone and click on the My Location link under the search box.
Does your Windows Mobile phone support Search for My Location? Good question. You can find out here. Meanwhile, Google is working with manufacturers to add support to future phone versions.
In related Google mobile news, the company also released Google Mobile App for BlackBerry as a free download. Users can visit m.google.com on their BlackBerry devices to download it.
Google promises faster Google search and easy access to previous queries; the Google Suggest feature to cut down on typing; the ability to click once to download and install Google Apps for BlackBerry; direct links to your Google Apps Calendar and Documents/Spreadsheets; and alerts about new versions of Google mobile apps.
According to comments following Google's blog post on this, users are big fans of the app for BlackBerry, at least the ones who could get it to work.
However, some users, such as Symbian Guru, said: "For the love of all things holy, PLEASE release this for S60 soon. Please please please."
Others begged Google for access to Google Talk from their BlackBerrys. I'll wager that will come soon enough.