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« Meet up in Atlanta, Tues. Nov. 15th | Main | Search engine cooking and the "third page" of search »

November 08, 2005

Review of Google Local for Mobile

By Charlene Li

I invited my colleague, Charlie Golvin, to write a review of Google Local for Mobile because: 1) Charlie's the Forrester consumer wireless analyst; and 2) I have a Blackberry which isn't supported by the new service. As you'll see below, Charlie has access to *many* different types of phones! Hope you enjoy his perspective.

Google released its Google Local for Mobile application today. It’s a Java app that brings much of the functionality of Google Local to the mobile phone, adapted for the small screen environment in mostly the clever way that you would expect from those wicked smaht folks. To download the app you can either navigate on your phone’s browser to http://google.com/glm and answer the questions the site poses to you regarding carrier, phone maker, and phone model, or you can use your desktop browser to answer the same set of questions and have Google send your phone an SMS with the link to the right version of the app (provided you don’t mind giving Google your phone number, just like you didn’t as a latecomer to Gmail). If you’re on a network like Verizon, Alltel, or US Cellular that uses BREW applications, you’re out of luck — presumably because this free app doesn’t make it worthwhile for Google to pay Qualcomm, and because Google doesn’t want to go through the carriers but prefers to distribute directly. So, if you’re a Cingular, T-mobile, or Sprint subscriber, have at it.

I actually played with GLM on three different phones — a Motorola ROKR, a Nokia 7610, and a Samsung SPH-A940, only the first of which is listed as supported by Google. For the Nokia I chose a version for another Series 60 phone (the 6620) and the Samsung auto-detected as a slightly older model. In both of these cases there were a few small anomalies that were annoying but far from rendered the app unusable. By far the best features were the automatic click-to-dial associated with any search result, and the driving directions. Each step in the directions is rendered on the map as a text box pointing on the map to your point along your journey, you press the ‘3’ key to advance to the next step and ‘1’ for the previous.

For those who have already become used to the
SMS interface to Google Local, this app is unlikely to alter your behavior in areas you know well. However, when traveling out of your comfort zone you will likely prefer the Java app primarily for the mapping feature. My main criticism is that the satellite imagery serves no useful purpose on such low resolution displays, and only serves to drive up network usage while degrading performance — stick with the maps.

While the carriers may bemoan the fact that Google is taking traffic from their own yellow pages and directory information services, in truth this is a very good thing for them. The familiar Google interface as a simple extension of the desktop experience will drive users to consume more data on their phones, and while that doesn’t necessarily mean revenue for carriers like Sprint who price data flat, it means that consumers are shifting their behavior from voice to voice and data -- which is the most significant impediment to the adoption of other data services today.

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Comments

The Club Cat

Verizon is the worst carrier ever. Their phone selection is terrible and now this! I must have Google maps.

I am looking at it this way. To cancel my contract with Verizon runs about $175. A GPS or programmable map provider runs about $800. If I switch to Cingular, I get that same basic feature set for free. You do the math.

Hey Verizon, can you hear me now?

victor

Incidentally,
I've come across what is likely to be the next generation in the search and display of financial information
It gives you a split second understanding of different investment choices in a manner that is clear, rich and easy to grasp.
You can find out more at www.clarityrules.com
Feel free to pass this on
Cheers
Vic

Tudor Lemuel

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Regards,
Tudor Lemuel
E-mail:tu_1_lem@myway.com
Or tulem_12@yahoo.ca
Tell:2348052346155

Tudor Lemuel

Hello, We are one of the leading electronics compnay here We have all brands and models of mobile phones Xbox 360..$200,Ipods,Mp3,Sony PSP...$160,PS3...$170 and more for sell nokia 8800 $170,Nokia N91 $190,Nokia N90 $180,Nextel i930 $130,Motorola V3 $130,Sony Ericson W800i $160,Nokia E70 $140,Nokia 6111 $170 and many more in stock now at a cheaper price.All mobile phones are unlocked brand new and it comes in it's original box direct from the factory with 18mounth worldwild warrantee and all its accessories complate. Contact us via e-mail address below. we also give discount and all price can be negociable if buying in bulk.We hope to hear from you soon with your order informations and your private phone numnbers for easy communication.Thanks and Godbless.
Regards,
Tudor Lemuel
E-mail:tu_1_lem@myway.com
Or tulem_12@yahoo.ca
Tell:2348052346155

  Luthias Stewart

We have all brands and models of Mobile Phones,Xbox 360..$200,Ipods,Mp3,Sony PSP...$160,PS3...$170 and more for sell nokia  8800 $170,Nokia N91 $190,Nokia N90 $180,Nextel i930 $130,Motorola V3  $130,Sony Ericson W800i $160,Nokia E70 $140,Nokia 6111 $170 , Nokia N92  $200 and many more for sell at affordable prices and all price can be negociated if buying in bulk.All phone are brand new direct from the factory with 18mounth worldwild warrantee  and all its accessories complate.please dont forget to include your private phone number for easy  commmunication. we look forward to hear from you ASAP.
Contact:+2348036453832
E-mail:luth_wart@myway.com
Thanks and Godbless.
Best Regards
Luthias.Stewart
     

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