I had to update my phone software, since I have a PDA phone running Windows Mobile, and as we all know Windows products have updates (well, every OS has updates to be fair!). So after installing the updated version of my phone's operating system, I went to download one of my favorite applications: Google Maps Mobile. It's a great option for those that want internet-updated maps without having to buy a GPS receiver and install it, and don't really need turn-by-turn directions but admit its sometimes nice to be able to do a search of restaurants on a map. Well, while going to re-download the software, I came across an announcement for a major upgrade to Google Maps. Since I love their original product, I couldn't wait to hear what they were adding.
The software already has support for GPS enabled phones, or phones with an extra GPS receiver. My phone has neither, so I'm out of luck. Until now... sort of. Google Maps currently has in beta testing a new feature that allows you to pinpoint your location... and here's the neat part... with or without GPS. If you have GPS, you get pinpoint accuracy (or as accurate as your GPS receiver allows). Without it though, they use triangulation already being used by your cell provider for their "E911". So, it can't pinpoint you exactly, it can point to your relative location (accented by a larger blue circle around your 'point'). The first thought that came to mind besides "How totally badass!" was "FINALLY! Location service that I can use!" Since I really don't need to know my pinpoint location, just the general area when searching. The kicker though is my phone isn't supported, yet, but it should be when they get further along in the testing. Even so, the idea that they're testing location finding without GPS for the average user (who already spent $300 on a phone).
So, I thought I would just share the tidbit along. I hope they get my phone on their 'supported devices' list soon, and as soon as they do, I'm trying this out all over Metro Phoenix to see just how accurate it is!