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Searching for Locals on your Treo

In the browser information category, to much online fanfare, Google yesterday launched its Local Mobile Search service allowing you to gain access to local business information combined with maps and driving directions while on the go with your Treo. 

I honestly don't know what the entire brouhaha has been about since Google's service is good but doesn't (yet at least) do anything that you couldn't already do before.  At any rate, let's have a quick look to see what Google Mobile Local Search can do for you.

Google Mobile Search
This previously consisted of only Web and Images and has now been enhanced by the addition of Local business searches with maps and driving directions.  However, although you can access this on your Treo via the normal Google search page at www.google.com, the company's optimized Mobile URL is the considerably more complex and less memorable www.google.com/xhtml or www.google.com/xhtml?site=local for the specific Local search box.    Why the company did not use the much simpler to remember mobile.google.com URL is not immediately obvious to me.  You can also bookmark just the driving directions portion with the (short) http://www.google.com/xhtml?site=local&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&near=&rl=1&sc=1&daddr=%20&near=%20&q= which also includes the Google Local search box at the bottom.

Conducting a Local Search with Google Mobile

  • If starting at the main Google Mobile Search page enter [your search term] [comma] [Zip Code or City] (eg. Cleaner, 33180).  If starting at the Google Mobile Local Search page enter your search term under 'What' and your Zip or City under 'Where'.


  • After hitting 'Google Search' you will be presented with a small square map with up to 10 overlaid results in balloons (labeled A to J) at the top of the page.  You can choose to zoom in or out and move north/south/east or west of the map as well.  Below this are the actual search results with the hyperlinked name of the business, its address and hyperlinked telephone number (which you can use to dial or SMS directly when using Blazer but is unfortunately not supported by my preferred browser Xiino).

  • Following the link of one of your results will take you to a similar looking page with a 'Driving Directions' link at the top, a map (but this time with only a single balloon indicating the location of your chosen search) and the full business details.
  • If you follow the 'Driving Directions' link you will be presented with a screen showing a 'Start Address' and an 'End Address' - both of which are auto-filled with your original Zip or City search string and the address for your selected business.
  • Finally, clicking 'Get Directions' will provide you with the distance to the business and turn-by-turn instructions of how to get there.

As I've mentioned previously, aside from making a call, there are three ways in which you can get information on your Treo: 1) using your browser (like Google here); 2) via a dedicated application and 3) via one of the new free SMS services which are popping up like mushrooms.

In the first category, besides Google, you may want to check the excellent YP.com Mobile (http://m.yp.com), Yahoo Mobile (http://mobile.yahoo.com) and MapQuest for maps, directions and traffic updates(http://wireless.mapquest.com/Palm/v3.0/index.html).

For applications, you cannot miss to download and check out Directory Assistant - a terrific application which is incredibly useful and best of all free - and also Handmark's slick  Pocket Express which provides maps & 441, weather, news & stocks, movies as well as sports data all in one package or available as separate modules.  Finally, there's also  Verichat's latest version which includes helpful 'Information Bots' which can be accessed via IM.

In the last category, some of the new free SMS information services to take for a spin include Google SMS, Synfonic, UpSnap and 4Info.

Treonauts are going global and local...

Posted by Andrew on April 13, 2005 at 04:54 PM

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by Radical Wacko | Apr 13, 2005 9:40:15 PM

What great comments you get here. Just as a counter argument, I would like to say that I enjoy your blog. You have provided some invaluable tips for using my Treo 650. Thanks for the hard work.

by A. Davis | Apr 14, 2005 1:07:29 AM

But you didn't even mention mobile erotic searching. ;) For example... http://palm.nccomp.com/MobileEnjoyment.html and it worth noting that the booble image search (http://imagesearch.booble.com/search) renders surprisingly well on our small screens as does wahoothumbs (http://www.wahoothumbs.com). I've always wondered why no one ever mentions mobile porn... after all, even Playboy is on the ball with it... http://palm.nccomp.com/iBOD.html

Enjoy... :)

by A. Davis | Apr 14, 2005 1:10:52 AM

FYI: Mapquest mobile only do directions and maps now. Clicking on the Traffic Reports link (http://wireless.mapquest.com/Palm/v3.0/traffic_form.asp) takes you to a page that says:

"Traffic reports are no longer available
Home | Maps | Directions"

Unfortunately, most of the traffic report sites don't render well on mobile devices. If anyone knows of one, please post it or email me at [email protected]

by Tony C. | Apr 14, 2005 5:34:10 PM

Actually, the URL for Google Local is http://mobile.google.com/local

(It redirects to the wwww.google.com/xhtml?site=local)

by Andrew | Apr 14, 2005 6:22:20 PM


You naughty man, bad boy! ;-)))

Thanks also for the update on MapQuest.


Thanks for clarifying this - it wasn't obvious to me.

Cheers, A.

by Andy's Mom | Apr 14, 2005 8:11:18 PM

Andy, you silly little butt fuck queen, why are you trying to keep your poor ole mum out?

I wish you'd stop wanking goats long enough to behave yourself. Now dry up and fuck off, you ugly twit!

by Activitie | Apr 20, 2005 6:20:23 PM

Even simpler still is using http://local.google.com

by Jim Mannoia | Dec 5, 2005 11:49:00 PM

But this nice description of mobile.google.com doesn't help because it doesn't work on the 650!

The comments to this entry are closed.

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