Google Maps for Mobile, which determines users’ current location to help them get driving, walking and transit directions, Street Views, and phone numbers and addresses for businesses, now makes it easier for users to find businesses in their area. Constantinos Michael, a software engineer for Google Mobile, explained:
“Until today, if you tried to get directions and entered a business name, “Starbucks,” for example, as the end or start point, Google Maps for Mobile did not understand that you meant Starbucks the business. Rather, Google Maps for Mobile would search for an address with “Starbucks” in it. Google Maps for Mobile now recognizes when your end or start point is a business and not an address.“
No mistaking the value of this tool for BlackBerry, Nokia S60, T-Mobile G1, iPhone or other smartphone users who already use Google Maps for Mobile as they tour the world in corporate road warrior capacity. I’m actually surprised the ability to disambiguate between business and address requests wasn’t already included in the app.
Better late than never, though. As Greg Sterling notes on Search Engine Land, the improvement is incremental, but for the class of people who hold mobile up as the next great Web surfing frontier, it might not be so trivial.
Because it’s a server- and not a client-side change from Google, users don’t have to do anything to enjoy this improvement to the app. Those who haven’t been turned on to the app can get it here, google.com/gmm, on their mobile phones.