Google Maps for Mobile adds ‘My Location’ GPS-like tech; triangulates your location via cell towers

“Google is set on Wednesday to launch a new feature in its Google Maps for Mobile program that automatically sets your location even in phones that lack a global positioning system (GPS) device,” Elinor Mills reports for CNET.

“The beta feature triangulates your approximate location based on nearby cell towers so you don’t have to type in your address,” Mills reports.

“The new My Location feature is launching in beta to get it into the hands of consumers faster, said Steve Lee, product manager for Google Maps for Mobile. The performance of the technology, which was developed in-house, will improve the more people use it, he said,” Mills reports. “‘We’re creating a database of cell tower locations and that database is built from people using Google Maps for Mobile,’ Lee said.”

“Because it works indoors, doesn’t drain the battery as much as GPS does, and is much faster (a few seconds compared with what can be a few minutes on GPS), according to Lee. However, GPS is more accurate; GPS can be off by a few meters while My Location will be within 10 city blocks, on average, he said,” Mills reports.

“Google Maps for Mobile is available on the iPhone, but the My Location feature isn’t yet,” Mills reports.

Full article here.

InformationWeek’s Stephen Wellman interviewed Steve Lee, product manager, Google Maps for mobile, who says, “As more and more devices that support cell ID technology ship, we’ll be working to make the My Location technology available on them. Users can access Google Maps for mobile with My Location in the following countries, though coverage may vary at first: US, UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Portugal, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, The Netherlands, Russian Federation, and Taiwan.”

Full interview here.

Google Maps with My Location (beta):

Direct link via YouTube:

Google Maps with My Location (beta) here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Tony” for the heads up.]


  1. I squarely believe this is a good idea, as it could help to keep you from driving in circles, and it will planely help the tourist angle by showing the right way to avoid traffic with parallel routes to alternate intersections, and also to pinpoint businesses to some degree, which could easily impress acute girl….

  2. “[…] a few seconds compared with what can be a few minutes on GPS […]”

    Actually, I’m pretty happy with my Garmin Edge 205. It’s initial sync is generally around 30 seconds. Of course, it stores what satellites were around when it was turned off. I have had it take over a minute when I radically move it while it’s off (eg, taking it from Southern California to Vermont).

    By the way–for those of you getting all excited, 10 city blocks is about one mile. I’m not sure it’s going to be all that useful for any kind of crowded environment…

  3. Typical, if Apple can’t profit from it, you (us) won’t get it. Apple is being too cagey with the iPhone. His Steveness just cannot give up even a small amount of control. It is not in his nature.

  4. I like this! Other than the accuracy—which I seriously hope they rectify—this is pretty sweet. Less battery draining and fast. Guess it can be a good alternative to actual GPS… at least until GPS is more energy efficient anyway.

  5. No new hardware is needed for iPhone. It is only a software issue. Now all the people bitching about non GPS look like idiots. That obtuse, battery sucking, overserving garbage on phones is soon to be a thing of the past.

    All that money Nokia is spending will go down the toilet.

  6. Seriously guys, this type of triangulation is not going to give you the accuracy of a GPS, which can give you elevation and so forth.

    This will be great as an add on, but it ain’t for hiking, sailing, locating you crop; uhhh, where was I….

  7. Jack, what the hell…..

    Are you stupid or what? Has nothing to do with profit, it’s a software issue that I’m sure can be added to just about any cell phone. It’s a matter of licensing and maybe Google doesn’t want to license it until it’s finished.


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