Google Maps On My Treo: Completely Hooked
As Palm introduced the Treo 680 last week (see my post Treo 680: Finally A Treo For Everyone) it also simultaneously announced marketing partnerships with Google, Yahoo!, ebay and TypePad – each of whom have or will be releasing one or more Treo-specific applications in the coming weeks.
I will start today by reviewing the new Google Maps that has been optimized for our Treo and which I have found to be absolutely amazing. Google Maps for Treo can be downloaded as a PRC file, sent to your Treo via SMS or simply by pointing your Blazer browser to www.google.com/gmm.
Once installed Google Maps will initially open to a default San Francisco map (above right) and in my case I simply clicked on Menu > Find Nearby Business typing “aventura fl” to bring up my current location (below right). [Please note that Google Maps does NOT use any GPS technology to figure out where you are.]
With my ‘home’ location set I next wanted to (as an example) find tobacco shops nearby. This brought up 9 results in the area (below right). [Note: Google Maps provides a maximum of 9 search results which should be plenty in most instances.]
You can quickly navigate from result #1 to #9 by a) either pressing the “Next/Previous” arrows at the bottom right of the screen; b) pressing any number from 1 to 9 on the keypad or c) hitting the Return key. Additionally, each search result can be tapped for additional options and information which include 1) the full address and telephone number of the business (thus also making Google Maps an effective free directory search tool); 2) the option to set this business as the start or end address for Directions and 3) call the business at the push of a button. Unfortunately there is not yet an option to “Save To Contacts” but hopefully this may happen in the future.
Having set my “From” and “To” locations for Google Map’s “Directions” I clicked “OK”, was presented with a Route Summary with the travel distance (but no estimated time).
After the Route Summary you are presented with the maps for your Directions with a green diamond as your starting point, yellow diamonds for turns (with full instructions) and finally a red diamond for your final destination. Right now the most annoying thing is that you can’t save either your locations or destinations but I believe that Google will add this in a future update.
A phenomenal feature of Google Maps (particularly on the large, crisp and high resolution screen of your PalmOS Treo) is the ability to quickly switch from Map to Satellite View below. Furthermore, using either the side volume buttons, the letters “I” (In) or “O” (Out) or alternatively one of the magnifying glasses at the bottom right of the screen you can zoom in to an astonishing level of detail.
Additionally, you can Hide or Show Traffic (for major roads below left) on Google Maps with the colours on the highway or road indicating:
- Green: more than 50 miles per hour
- Yellow: 25 - 50 miles per hour
- Red: less than 25 miles per hour
- Gray: no data available
Finally, if you have a complete or partial address that you would like to find you can select Find Location in the menu to bring that destination up. Above right I simply typed “1685 collins avenue, miami, fl” to get my map.
Google Maps is one of the most terrific mapping applications that I have seen in general and for the Treo in particular – it’s also one that further helps to highlight many of the benefits of being a Treonaut. Naturally it has now been added to my list of Top 100 Treo Software.
Treonauts are always hooked on something amazing…