Google adds Street View, walking directions to mobile devices

Improvements to Google Maps include greater accuracy with cell tower geolocation

Google has been steadily upgrading its Google Maps for mobile applications since 2007 and Wednesday added free walking directions and the ability to find street view imagery on a mobile device, the same as it has made possible with a desktop computer.

The advantage of Google's Street View feature is that a user will be able to see a photo or other image of the location, such as a restaurant storefront, Google officials said in the company's Mobile Blog.

Street View can be seen overlaid on a Google map on a mobile device, Google said.

Also Wednesday, Google added a beta version of walking directions to mobile devices to aid those traveling on foot.

Wednesday's announcements come in addition to Monday's news of an upgrade to Google's mobile My Location feature, which was first launched in November 2007. The upgrades provide greater accuracy in determining a mobile user's location. Google uses data about a mobile user's location from cell towers and the information was not always precise. Sometimes a person's location might be 1,000 yards from what Google was indicating.

The free features previously available on mobile devices from Google Maps have offered a user's location, with support of GPS in addition to Google's cell tower geolocation as well as map and satellite views, business listings, driving directions, and traffic information. In addition, users also can get public transit information, such as bus schedules, for more than 50 cities around the world. These capabilities have been available for corporate BlackBerry phones through a Research In Motion BlackBerry Enterprise Server. Most of the features are available for consumer-grade BlackBerry devices, Windows Mobile devices, S60 and Java-enabled phones.

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Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)
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