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Monday, June 25, 2007

Google Maps v1.0.0 for Smartphone

Google Maps for Mobile does much more than display maps. The "Find Nearby Business" feature takes a keyword you input (such as "pizza") and displays a series of red numbered icons that show all the nearest businesses that fit that description.

You can zoom out to see them all at once, or zoom in on a particular one in order to see the cross streets. Press a number key to display a descriptive title over the corresponding icon (such as "Grimaldi's") and hit the number a second time to switch to a sparse info screen that shows the address and phone number when available.

Google Maps for Mobile also lets you input two locations in order to get directions between them. When you run a query, the program first shows a quick summary of the start and end points, the distance between them, and approximately how long it should take to drive the route. Press the OK button and the app returns to the roadmap screen, showing a cartoon balloon with the first step highlighted (say, "Head Southwest on 21st St. toward 27th Rd – go 0.3 mi"). The program then prompts you to press 3 to show each next step. Unfortunately, there's no way to produce an all-text list similar to what you'd see on MapQuest or on the left-hand side of a desktop Google Maps window. The only way to see all the steps is to scroll through them with multiple key presses.

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