Finally, my phone knows where I am

Google announced a new version of Google Maps for mobile phones almost a week ago. It uses cell tower location data to determine approximately where you are, without needing GPS. Now I know you're thinking, "triangulation!" but Google doesn't say that word anywhere.

This was just too cool to pass up so I've been trying valiantly for the last week to get it running on my BlackBerry Pearl 8100 (on the Rogers network in the Vancouver area). I am happy to report that after multiple permutations of installing, uninstalling, power cycling and battery pulling ... it works! It's in beta (what a surprise), and surely Google will figure out how to make it install more reliably soon.

What do I mean by "it works"? Instantly after firing up the application it showed my estimated location with a blue flashing dot and indicated that it was accurate to about 1700m. In fact, it was much closer, about five blocks. And that's indoors where GPS wouldn't work anyway.

For those us used to having GPS locate us to within the correct side of the street, not five blocks away, this may seem like it's not going to be good enough. But if you are as directionally challenged as I am, you'll take what you can get. And Google claims that it will get more accurate as it used more. (How the heck does that work??)

You can find out all about it here. It would be a good idea to check first if your phone is supported.

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