back to article Google Maps Mobile knows where you are

The latest version of Google Maps Mobile has a menu item which shows you where you are, without recourse to GPS or deals with network operators, but those with GPS will be asked to lend a hand in keeping the database up to date and improving its accuracy. Google Maps Mobile version 2 is currently in Beta, but available for …


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  1. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Up

    On the iPhone?

    I wonder if Apple / O2 / Google will be organised enough to get this working on the iPhone? I was most disappointed to find that the Google Maps application doesn't automatically find my location with Cell ID - something even the deathly slow, crappy AA application on my rubbish old iMode phone did.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No way of knowing?

    ... apart from the very widely used RADIUS service (or other similar AAA protocols) which resolves an IP address to a MSISDN (phone number).

    So either Google are shying away from telling us about their potential for yet more privacy infringement or they aren't very clued up on current technology. Hmmm ... which is more likely?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Oh good grief

    Does it always have to come back to the Jesus phone?

    Who cares whether you can use it. There are only about ten of you anyway!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An expensive process, pahh!

    They collected the info from version 1 users with out them knowing!

  5. Rupert Stubbs

    Works on my BlackBerry 8700

    Shows me about 300m away from where I really am, with a circle of confusion of 1700m. Not bad.

    Won't work on the BejaysusPhone. Yet.

  6. Chris Beach

    Orange had this ages ago

    Orange's Near Me portal feature had this ages ago, I remember using it on the first windows mobile smartphone. It was handy for pub finding:)

  7. Julian Bond


    "22 countries are already covered." Including the UK? Now how about a webservice to make this stuff more available?

  8. Robert St-John
    Thumb Up

    Works on Curve ok

    Annoyingly though, googlemaps shows guersney as a patch of green land, however the satelite image and flashing beacon is cool in a spy like way

  9. Eileen Bach

    Application ready

    I could have seen some usefulness for this degree of accuracy before the telescope or railroad came in but.......?

  10. Tim

    Re: Orange had this ages ago

    Of course Orange had it ages ago, because they own the network data. If anyone else wants to use that data (e.g. to place location based data in an operator independent mapping application), they'd normally have to pay the operator for the data, and the operator would likely want to insist the application is only available on their network and on locked down subsidised branded phones.

    Now instead the data comes from Google, independent of operator and phone branding.

  11. Ian Michael Gumby

    Want to bet?

    "The same spokesman was eager to point out that while Google might be collecting GPS and Cell ID information, they have no way of linking that to a particular person or phone handset, so (for the moment at least) there's no significant privacy issue."

    Let me get this straight.

    You have to register with Google to get the app. You're telling me that they don't or cant track registration?

    LOL yeah right.

    Also if they can get the cell tower information, then they can get your id.

    Use at your own risk and stupidity.

  12. paul clarke

    Close but....

    Well I just tried it on my SPV650 from orange and it located me to within 1700 feet. However I feel it may be connecting me to a base station closer to my work as the map is pretty close to where I work.

    There are 2 base stations within 50 metres of me so it may change over later.

    I am impressed, much like having a GPS I now have a phone that can tell me I am at home!!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    FWIW, registration not necessary

    you don't have to register, at least on the PPC. You just install the app (.cab file).

    So google may know my MSISDN and other individual data from my handset, but at least it isn't linked to a "google account",

    (which I have managed to avoid acquiring to date.)

    I've been using Google Maps with my GPS for a while now, and I've noticed the acquiring of maps over GPRS seems to have been getting slower as the version numbers go up.

    AFAIK, they never explicitly "asked me if I'd like to lend a hand in keeping the database up to date," and I didn't notice it in the ever lengthening EULA ;

    (which I always attempt to read, but TBH the latest one was too long, I didn't finish it as my eyes were starting to hurt).

    I'm not sure if I like using my data connection to add to their database... : (

  14. Anonymous Coward

    "Honey, I need to work late" -- calling from a pub across town

    Some mobile carriers in Asian countries rolled out caller location service. The idea is that friends and family know where they are relative to each other. It was quickly discontinued for a good reason. Now, this is a lot more useful, so long as the location info is kept private.

  15. AndyB

    tracking phones in UK

    there's at least one service for remotely tracking phones over the web in the UK

  16. Alex Wright
    Thumb Down

    Pity mobile data is so expensive

    This might be useful apart from the fantastic price that operators charge for mobile data. Download a few maps, and suddenly you have another £50 on your bill.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Get a Grip, People!

    At what point did we become such a clinically paranoid nation? Is useful - and dare I say "cool" - technology forever now going to be met by a Big Brother tirade from the growing foil-hatted legions? Who gives a f*** if Google knows where you are? Like other posters have said, your service provider knows this anyway. Do you people use credit cards or cashpoints? Not worried about the banks tracking your movements? Get over yourselves, no-one is slightly interested, so just get on with your lives and enjoy the technology.

  18. Anonymous Coward


    Google have done it again - just when I thought they couldn't release another truly useful or intriguing feature, they did it.

    The instant I read the first paragraph of this story, I went and downloaded it on my MDA Vario II, utterly brilliant, first thing it did was tell me my position with an error of maybe a 1/4 to 1/2 mile.

    Just brilliant!

    I use navigation software and a GPS too, and this is an excellent supplement just in case the worst happens - many a time have the batteries ran out in my bluetooth gps receiver. And otherwise, getting initial locks can take upwards of 90 seconds - stress levels increasing on your way to a job interview! This is an instant 'you are here' thing which I can see being very handy.

    Plus I can fool my mates into thinking I have GPS built in now!

    I thought they make a good point about the iPhone, I however own the good cheap iPhone semi-clone - the iPod Touch, hacked to include Google Maps. No help on my iTouch then - just have to wait until google gather a WiFi positional database, but it would be a lot less useful than a cellphone location aid - pocket pc phone does it for me because thats what I do my navigating with.


  19. Radioman

    Doesn't work

    Tried downloading it, but does not work for my location in UK. This is probably because I am covered by an Orange in-building pico cell, and Google's data gathering may have missed it. I wonder if there is a way for users to volunteer location info for such situations?

  20. David Spalding
    Thumb Down

    Not on a Nokia 6682....

    Odd, that when I downloaded the beta app this morning, after seeing Google hype that the beta was supported on Nokia Symbian phones, installed it, and tried to use My Location, to see "This is not supported on your phone." Grrr, grumble, gripe.

  21. J

    MDA Vario-II

    I also just installed it on an T-Mobile MDA Vario-II and it worked immediately. Found my position to within 400 yards

    Now all I need is an easy fix to turn on the GPS chip which is in the Vario - but disabled. Any chance Google will supply 3rd party drivers for that ??

    And for Ian McCarthy - no I didn't have to register to download it, so thats one argument against gone.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Google maps and your location...

    Your article said: "while Google might be collecting GPS and Cell ID information, they have no way of linking that to a particular person or phone handset, so (for the moment at least) there's no significant privacy issue."

    Actually thats not quite true. Though a loophole in the "Payforit" scheme in the UK, operators are providing the phone number of users that browse mobile web sites to unscrupulous businesses.

    Therefore, there are two tricks to link phone number to location:

    (1) Google records the phone number of a user when they download the application and supplies a different variant of each app to each user. Voila, when teh app starts up, and connects to the network, the two are linked.

    (2) The app visits a mobile web page while its running, supplying the location of the user (actually thats exactly what happens when it downbloads a section of map!) and Google uses the Payforit MSISDN relay to capture teh user's phoen number.

    As of today (with MSISDN still being supplied through the Payforit loophole) Google - or anybody who can get a Symbian app on your phone - can easily map a user to a phone number - so for example you could be called or texted when you are within a certain CELLID.

    Chilling! :-)


  23. Darren Coleman
    Thumb Up

    Works well

    Like Anon above I read the first paragraph, downloaded it and it got my location almost spot on (said I was just down the road from where I actually am). Combined with satellite view it makes for a really Mission Impossible-esque application :)

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