The other day I poked on over to Google Maps to find out exactly where a particular store was so I could finish up some Christmas shopping. I noticed a new link to download Google Local to my cell phone. Being curious, I clicked on it and found that they had a version that worked on my Sanyo MM-7400.
I've had a couple of days to play around with it and it's pretty amazing. There are times when Google does things really poorly (Google Reader) and times when they get it right (Google Maps). This falls in the latter category.
The download is about 100KB, and they've got a little wizard that lets you pick your mobile provide and phone to make sure you get the right version. Google even lets you give them a cell number so they can text message you the link.
Once downloaded, you load it up, and after a few seconds, there's your map, looking damn near like it does on your computer monitor. You can do local searches to find local restaurants and shops, just like on Google Local. It does driving directions, just like Google Maps.
Oh, and it even has the satellite view. Yep, I can see my house on my phone.
There are some minor quibbles I have.
- The interface to enter addresses is pretty crappy, since it doesn't support T9 (as far as I can tell).
- It'd be nice if it could pull addresses from my address book, so I could say "I want to go here" and then have it give me directions.
- I'm not completely sold on the directions interface, since I couldn't seem to zoom out far enough to get a good idea of the scope of the path. The interface is pretty nifty in that you click a button and it takes you to the next step of the directions (actually travelling along the map path).
Combine this Google Maps Mobile application with the new Yahoo! RSS feed notification and SMS services, and it's becoming pretty nice to have a decent mobile data plan. I can set up my phone to send me a score alert anytime the score of the Celtics game changes, or at half time, or only at the end of the game via Yahoo! When the Celtics lose, I can search for local bars on my phone, get directions there, and head over to console myself, knowing that I'll find the place using the Google Map and Satellite views. If only they could triangulate my position and let me use that as the starting point for any map ...