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I use Google Maps all the time at work (I work with property databases so knowing where things are tends to be important…). I love the web interface – it’s simpler and less cluttered than Microsoft’s Live Maps. But I’m not sure how much I’d use this on my mobile. Upon downloading Google Maps Mobile (GMM) and firing it up to test, my thoughts were pretty much as follows:

  • Hey, this is cool.
  • I can see my house!
  • It’s taking a while to load…
  • But hey, it’s still pretty nice.
  • I wonder what people would use this for? Walking routes? Traffic? Driving?
  • I bet these satellite images are eating up my bandwidth.
  • I’d probably only use this for getting driving directions. If I wanted driving directions, I’d be in my car. If I was in my car, I’d use my atlas.

That was when I turned it off 🙂

But ok, cynicism aside: it’s a nice little app – for my aging Nokia 6680 anyway! I especially like the way I could visit the website and be presented with a download link tailored to the model of my mobile phone. That’s mush easier than browsing through a long, long list – which is what I did last time I downloaded something for my mobile phone. It’s also particularly useful for me because I often forget what model my mobile phone is, and the model number’s not written anywhere on the thing!

The GMM interface is a little different to the standard Nokia interface, but I guess that could be a product of the process of developing the little app for so many different platforms. Or, more likely, it’s an intentional move designed to leave more space for the maps (on my Nokia, the GMM app’s ‘buttons’ are small and tucked away at the bottom corners of the screen, leaving more space for viewing the actual maps). Anyway, given that there’s a lot of information to be presented in a small space, this is a good thing. And Google have actually done a really good job of tweaking the maps data so that the screen isn’t jammed full of place names and roads. It’s nice. If I ever use it, I think I’ll enjoy it.