Google Launches Locator For Non-GPS Mobile Phones

By December 3, 20078 Comments

My Location launched by Google enables phones without an in-built GPS to be used as locators. Google aims to tap a large chunk of the mobile market through this new mobile tracking system.

At present, an estimated 85 percent of mobile phone handsets do not include in-built GPS systems. Converting a simple, useful application like Google Maps into a desirable feature (i.e. GPS) is a smart way to prompt users to adopt Google technology on their mobile devices.

Google Mobile Maps + My Location

My Location vs. GPS

My Location provides indoor coverage. Its battery consumption is low and its location tracking service is faster than GPS. On the other hand, GPS systems are much more accurate and can track down the location of a user to a within 10 meters or less. Google’s tracking system does not show this level of precision. Google have stated that users can be traced within a range of 400 meters to 5 kilometers of their exact location.

In order to put Google’s pseudo-GPS accuracy in perspective, consider this: In a city like London, a distance of +/- 400 metres could cover an area serviced by three different tube stations! It may be easy to locate a user’s neighbourhood through My Location, but quite a task to navigate the city streets.

Privacy Concerns

Google has addressed privacy concerns at the outset. However, in spite of assurances from Steve Lee, Google’s Mobile Maps product manager, that My Location won’t collect “revealing” personal information, it remains to be seen how true Google stay to their promise. My Location presents the means through which Google can enter the realm of location-based advertising. Google are rather unlikely to miss an opportunity to capitalise on this by selling location-specific mobile ads.

My Location can be quite a handy utility tool but there are a few loopholes that Google needs to close quickly. The backing database of My Location is not yet ready. To avoid privacy related issues and potential mobile spam, Google will also need to take care that the privacy of its users is respected. Most importantly, though, Google need to improve the level of accuracy to make the tool useful to city dwellers, who will end up being the main adopters of such technology.

For those interested in learning more about the technology behind My Location, Google has created this nifty little video:


  • daniel says: has been there, built that!

    Search Solved! Game Over!

  • Jennifer says:

    I have used Google Maps on my non-GPS pocket pc for about a year. After reading this article I updated my Google Maps and took the “GPS” feature on a test run, and was very pleased with it. It really was pretty accurate on locating me, despite my lack of a receiver. Google does it again. This is awesome, and once the bugs are all worked out, I think it will give TomTom a run for its money (and win since Google Maps is free)!!

  • Hal Miller says:

    Intall Google Maps for cell phones always results in File Too Big error. Nokia 6200. Oh well!

  • jenifer.santos says:

    Such technology is useful for anyone but Google need to improve the level of accuracy of the location being detected..

  • sam@mobile phones says:

    Thanks for sharing this information. I am not interested in having this application though.

  • dedi.ekasa32 says:

    Such technology is useful for anyone but Google need to improve the level of accuracy of the location being detected.

  • Mary says:

    Thank you so much for sharing the information. Upon reading this article, I think I will install it to my child’s phone….. It will really help…