Google Maps Mobile 3.0 for Windows Mobile, or what Live Search Mobile forgot to do, again.

I rarely find Google’s product as exciting or as innovative as other people think they are. BUT…
[I’ll come back as to why later on, don’t worry it’s only one feature that I need, but it’s important]

I was driving yesterday, and needed to quickly look up an address, as I know the destination moved addresses recently and did not want to drive the wrong way. So I decided to use Google Maps for Mobile, as it seems to fixate on GPS in my BlackJack II faster. [To note I use my phone’s Internet and GPS capability a lot.]

As a well designed application, let me know there was a new version, from 2.0. something to 3.0.something. Install asked me if I’d like to keep my settings and favorites from previous install, how nice of it. Now I think it’s a good time to get into why I had this application on my Windows Mobile phone to begin with, when I used Live Search Mobile most of the time.

Favorites.

Yes, favorites. Like list of locations you been to or just selecting a location and marking it as Favorite for later. Something that Windows Live Search Mobile seems to think is not important on a mobile mapping client…and could have had such a nice integration from the desktop Live Maps in the web browser – send to Windows Mobile phone, instead of Send to Mobile and get a mobile Web link, instead an option to pop the SMS right into Live Search Mobile and add it to list of locations or places to go.

One more, WHY ARE BOTH OF YOU NOT READING CALENDAR LOCATION FIELD FOR ME???? Usability fail.

Back to the story.

Google Maps Mobile installs and launches, shows me a tiny preview screen of new feature called Google Latitude – which basically shows where you friends are on the map, if they are signed on to their G account, which I don’t have and don’t know any people I want to track, or that would share their location to begin with. Might be nice during a conference somewhere. Now if Live Search Mobile did this with my Live Messenger Account I would have some interest in this kind of a feature, personally.

Anyways I Click “Continue” and Not logon to “Spy on your girl by hacked G-mail account on her G1” feature.

So here are my impressions:

Application instantly fixates me on the map within 1 second of loading up the tiles on the screen.
I instantly notice subtle different in map chrome. All the pop-ups are nicer with light blue gradients, very Web 2.0 for a phone app.
This UI is actually exclusive to Windows Mobile, as other platforms use their own Menu system, iPhone and G1 version use this extensively; but we’re on WM here…

[I am using Windows Mobile Standard 6.1 on a Samsung Black Jack II with is a Non-touchscreen phone.]

There has been quirks in how the UI operated in WinMo Standard version, and I was not able to move my focus well around the app, frustrating me.
For example: Like recent search terms were hard to highlight, focus was stuck in Search box. It was nice to see this Fixed in this verion.

Oh and since I needed to check if the two addresses for this location in the address books, showed the right place, I needed to check out Satellite View.

Well I saw StreetView and was relived to not have try to make out a roof on a 2.5 Inch screen phone:

Go to 59 seconds in here, see it work on BlackBerry, it works same on Windows Mobile.

That needless to say, clarified which location was which and I was on my way.

Could I have done the same with Live Maps, yes, but I wanted to bookmark this location once and for all; which I could not do.

Where is Windows Live Search Mobile ?

Now, I am highly anticipating the Windows Live Search Mobile answer with a new version of their client, maybe I can finally get my Favorites list :-]

If Not, at least give me an API and I will do it myself already. Through SMS interceptor and companion .NET mobile app managing this list for me.
For example pulling out my location field from my appointments in OutlookMobile would be another great feature.
Another sad example is Google Maps had implemented “Locate in Google Maps…” as an option when selecting in the built-in Contacts list, for two years now!

Maybe, just maybe before Google Maps Mobile looks up Movie Showtimes and Gas Prices thereby leveling feature playing field.

I’d not be upset only in one condition - if the team building Windows Live Search Mobile is currently busy working on 6.5 or Windows Mobile 7, or were busy resurrecting  -  New Windows Live for Mobile on Windows Mobile, or something related to www.Bing.com.

Otherwise surrender the APIs to the people! :-) </rant peer pressure attempt>

Downloads and more info:

To download the Google Maps for Mobile client CAB, go here:

Windows Mobile (download binary)

Or text message “maps” to 33669 in US

You can read more:
http://www.google.com/mobile/default/maps.html

To compare for yourself, and to get other features NOT in Google Maps Mobile

To download Windows Live Search Mobile:

Manual download page, to use from a mobile phone: http://tinyurl.com/WLSearchMobile

Live Search Mobile Home page, download and read more:
http://www.windowsliveformobile.com/en-us/livesearch/default.aspx

Print | posted on Monday, June 1, 2009 5:30 PM

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