Cellphone Without GPS? No Problem

Media Morph: Google Maps With My Location

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Every week Ad Age Digital's Media Morph looks at how emerging technology is changing the way consumers get their information and media companies and advertisers present their messages. This week: Google Maps for your phone.

WHAT IT IS: Google Maps for your phone, with a feature that lets you see your location even if you don't have a GPS-enabled phone. If you do, it uses global-positioning technology. But if not, it triangulates your location based on information from nearby mobile towers.

HOW ACCURATE IS IT: When we tested it at the Ad Age offices, it placed us on Third Avenue between 45th and 46th streets, off by one block. Google says the location will be, on average, within 1,000 meters.

COMPATIBLE DEVICES: The free service works with Java-enabled phones, Palm devices with OS 5 and above, color BlackBerries, Windows Mobile devices with Windows Mobile 2003 5.0 and above, and Symbian Series 60 third-edition devices. Of course, you'll need a data plan to use it -- and an unlimited data plan is recommended so you don't get hit with an avalanche of charges.

HOW TO GET IT: Go to google.com/gmm on your mobile browser to download.

THE GOOGLE FACTOR: This is also a good example of Google recognizing the importance of the mobile phone and the attention it's giving to useful mobile applications. Last week it also introduced an application for the iPhone that makes it easier for users to use Google search, Gmail, Calendar and Reader.

THE MARKETING FACTOR: Location-based marketing is a boon for many marketer verticals, including retail, travel and entertainment. And location-based advertising is the added value that comes with mobile marketing. Says Richard Ting, exec creative director at R/GA: "There's content on that mobile web, like sports scores and New York Times articles, that you could read that on the web [sitting in your office]. But location information ... that's the unique proposition of mobile."
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