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Google Maps Mobile review

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If you’ve recently bought a Windows Mobile device with built-in GPS then chances are it already has Google Maps on board. However, it’s entirely possible that it won’t be the latest version.

Even if you haven’t got GPS built in to your Pocket PC, you can add it with an external GPS receiver, though Google Maps doesn’t, strictly speaking, require GPS, since it can identify your approximate location using cell phone triangulation.

Our HTC Touch Pro2 device featured an older version of Google Maps but we downloaded the latest v3.0.1.6 so we could take advantage of the app’s newer features. It came as a 2112KB .CAB file, which we added to our phone’s memory card.

This latest version of Google Maps Mobile supports Latitude, which allows you to share your location information with friends or family. Once you’ve added them to your contacts list, and assuming they agree to sharing their info, you can track them in real time. You can choose who you want to share your location information with or hide your location at any time.

There’s integrated ability to contact them too via SMS, IM or phone call. As well as voice or text you can share location photos from your camera and you can also use Google Talk for VoIP chat.

Google’s StreetView facility has caught the imagination of many and UK streets have now (mostly) been photographed using Google’s cameras, though a few out of the way spots are still missing.

The Google Maps layout is an exercise in simplicity, giving you what you need without cluttering the screen, and offering useful, seamlessly integrated functions without feeling the need to shout about them.

Search only gives you one box to fill, in which you can put address, town or postcode to view your desired location. Page rendering is typically quick too, only requiring a few seconds to jump from one map to the next.

Selecting directions is equally straightforward, viewable either on the map or as a list of directions, and you can choose your destination from an automatically generated list of previously viewed locations. Traffic information provided by the Highways Agency is also an option.

Other maps apps may have more features, and whichever presentation you prefer may be a matter of taste. But Google’s justly earned reputation for simplicity and effectiveness carries on in Google Maps. And it’s free and likely to remain so. This is still the one to beat.

Google Maps info

Ease of use: [[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”thumbnail_60x60″,”fid”:”21622″,”attributes”:{“alt”:””,”class”:”media-image”,”height”:”60″,”width”:”60″}}]]
Value: [[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”thumbnail_60x60″,”fid”:”21622″,”attributes”:{“alt”:””,”class”:”media-image”,”height”:”60″,”width”:”60″}}]]
Features: [[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”thumbnail_60x60″,”fid”:”21621″,”attributes”:{“alt”:””,”class”:”media-image”,”height”:”60″,”width”:”60″}}]]
Overall [[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”thumbnail_60x60″,”fid”:”21622″,”attributes”:{“alt”:””,”class”:”media-image”,”height”:”60″,”width”:”60″}}]]

Platform: Windows Mobile

Price: Free

Developer: Google

Website/Demo: Google website

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