Google has introduced version 2.0 of Google Maps for mobile, introducing a new "My Location" technology, which uses mobile phone tower ID information to offer US users their approximate location, helping them determine where they are, what's around them, and how to get there.
There is now speculation that Apple could introduce the technology to the iPhone, which has been criticised for lacking a GPS receiver.
Google points out that the most common source of location information - GPS technology - is supported on fewer than 15 per cent of the mobile phones expected to be sold in 2007.
Google's new My Location technology lets users who don't have GPS-enabled mobile phones get such information. The My Location technology also complements GPS-enabled devices, as it delivers a location estimate faster than GPS, provides coverage inside buildings (where GPS signals can be unreliable), and doesn't drain phone batteries as quickly as GPS.
The My Location technology takes information broadcast from cell towers and sifts it through Google-developed algorithms to approximate a user's current location on the map. This approximation is anonymous, as Google does not gather any personally identifiable information or associate any location data with personally identifiable information as part of the My Location feature and the feature can be disabled by those not wanting to employ it.
The My Location technology is available on most smartphones, including all color BlackBerry devices, all Symbian Series 60 3rd Edition devices, most Windows Mobile devices, newer Sony Ericsson devices, and some Motorola devices. However, it isn't (yet) available for the iPhone, as the existing iPhone Google Maps feature would need to be updated to support this.