There are levels of coolness in Technology. They range from "man this is so cool to look at it, but I can't imagine what I would use it for," to "man this is so cool it could save the universe from the alien incursion!" For that last one, think Independance Day. Well, Google Maps on your computer is some where in the middle. I use it all the time to check directions and use the satellite maps to check landmarks to aid me in finding whatever I want to find. I've also used Google Maps in home searching and just checking up various locations around the world. It's just plain fun and pretty useful. The single biggest drawback is that you can't take the functionality with you. You can print out the maps and images, but if your plans change or you need to reroute due to traffic, your are on your own. Unless you have Google Mobile Maps.
I first used this application about a year ago on my BlackBerry 8700. It didn't take me but two minutes to figure out how useful this application could be on my phone. Just think, you are on the go and you get that business call you have been waiting for all day. The client wants to meet, but not at his office; he wants to meet at some restaraunt you have never heard of in a part of town you never go to. Well, you could ask him for detailed directions and sound like a total moron; or just say you haven't been there but you can find it, all you need is the address and a local landmark. The client gives you the address and you pull up Google Mobile Maps. You have two options, you can just enter the address and look at the map to get your bearings or you can enter your current location as well as the restaraunt address and Google Mobile Maps will give you step by step directions. You can look at a map or you can look at satellite imagery with roads overlayed. I personally use both so that I can first see the map, then see what is around where I am going so that I have true visual references.
Now, what if your client doesn't know the address, he just knows where it is? Well, Google Mobile Maps to the rescue. You can use the power of Google to look up the restaraunt and more times than not, have their phone number handy too. Highlight the number and you can call them to get directions and even make a reservation maybe even arrange to have the meal paid for by you in advance.
The newest version even talks to the GPS radio in many modern mobile phones, which means you can turn it on and it will tell you where you are right now. That's very useful when you realize you should have taken a right turn instead of a left.
Here is the really good news. Google Mobile Maps should work on most modern phones, and I know works great on BlackBerry phones (newer BlackBerry phones work better) and PocketPC/Smart Phones. If you already have a version on your phone, download the latest version. There have been updates and fixes that I notice make the application run better and faster.
Best of all, this application is 100% free of any cost. If you have a data plan on your phone for e-mails, the web, etc., this application shouldn't cost you a dime. If you aren't sure, contact your service provider. So, check out Google Mobile Maps, you will be glad you did. If you like Google Maps, you will love Google Mobile Maps, it isn't technology that will save the universe, but for me, it's darn close!