Google Maps users will now have information telling them where they are, thanks to the use of cell tower information.
The company's new beta version of Google Maps will offer the "My Location" service to help those mobile users who do not have 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," said Google. "The My Location technology is available on most smartphones, including all colour BlackBerry devices, all Symbian Series 60 3rd Edition devices, most Windows Mobile devices, newer Sony Ericsson devices, and some Motorola devices."
Google promised to protect privacy by not associating location data with any personally identifiable information. My Location will be useful for finding restaurants, hotels, coffee shops and other businesses.
Google is hoping GPS users will use My Location as a complementary technology, and argues that My Location has some advantages over GPS.
"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," Google said.
Google is quickly increasing its presence in the mobile market, most notably by developing Android, an open source platform that can be used by third-party developers to create applications for mobile devices.