Google releases Google Maps for mobile phones

Apparently the folks at Google just don't sleep as evidenced by the release of Google Maps for mobile phones today. While Yahoo Maps and others were busy playing catch up, the folks in Googleville, CA were taking their amazingly popular web-mapping application and making it work for mobile phones. As of now it only works for phones that support Java applications and unless you have an unlimited data plan it may run up your phone bill. However after toying around with it for a little while, it has some cool functionality. Read more about the specs and a brief review after the jump.

While many applications that are ported to mobile phones are mere shadows of their PC application selves, the folks at Google have done a surprisingly good job at delivering full functionality to the mobile environment. In particular the feature list is as follows:

  • Driving Directions: Provides point to point driving directions viewable on a map. This feature even includes detailed directions and can be started from previously made searches.
  • Integrated Search: Searches can be made by address and even using a search term and a zipcode (Pizza 90210) with results being displayed on the map. Once searches have been completed options include calling the businesses that are displayed.
  • Easily Movable Maps: The maps that are displayed are easily zoomable and can be scrolled in any direction easily.
  • Satellite Imagery: Satellite images can be viewed just as with Google Maps by simply clicking on the menu and selecting satellite images. Unfortunately, phone screens are not the best for viewing these types of images as the views are overly blurry even on my rather large screen (Sony Ericsson P900).

As of now Google states that phones on Verizon, Nextel, Alltel, and U.S. Cellular are not supported. In addition the ubiquitous Crackberry and Palm devices are not supported. However, I have a Sony Ericsson P900 which is not listed as being supported (no Sony Ericsson phone on T-Mobile is shown as being supported) and I was able to download and use GMM without too much problem. As of now I have only had about an hour to play around with the application but I can say that overall I am impressed. Specifically, I thought that the application worked quickly, was fairly intuitive, the maps looked good, and the integrated search with callable results was a nice touch. The main caveat is that if you don't have an unlimited data plan with your phone carrier you should probably avoid GMM or think about upgrading.