I didn’t realise that there was a native google maps application for windows mobile, until i reviewed the google mobile app which showed a lot of app shortcuts. Only after trying out some of them i noticed that there was a link to a native google maps app. So i installed it, started it up, and here we go with the review of google maps for windows mobile.
The startup screen of google maps will show your current destination based on your internet connection and the mobile network you are currently booked in. The screenshot beneath shows the default map view.
From here you have access to the general menu by using the right soft key. You can start a search, activate assisted gps, generate a route, switch the map view and access further options as well as help pages.
By default you see the map view, but i prefer the satellite view because it shows a lot of detail and therefore is more fun to use.
Using the search function is as straightforward as it gets. Just open the menu and choose “search”. On the next screen you can put in your destination, and google maps will show you all your recent search words too.
After starting the search you will be either directly taken to the destination, or asked to choose between a list of places if the adress/town/place you have searched for is not distinct. When you have found what you were looking for, there are following options:
- Generate a route
- Street view (if available)
- Save as favourite location
- Save as new contact (in example you can search for a hotel an add the address/phonenumber to your contacts)
- Send as short message
- Search nearby
Of course you can access many additional informations on the result screens for hotels, restaurants, shops, offices and other destinations using the tabs on this screen.
When generating a route google maps will ask you to specify the starting point and the destination you want to travel to. On the result screen you can decide whether you want to see the directions as a list or on the map.
Another well known and notorious feature on the desktop version is the street view mode, which will give you panoramic 360 degree pictures of many destinations. This mode is also in the mobile app, and i really like to make some random searches and check out some streets around the world now and then. Street view is not available in every major city, for more informations check out the street view homepage.
Similar to the youtube mobile app google did a great job of porting the desktop version of a web based service to a native mobile application. The user interface is very clear and easy to use. All buttons are big enough for comfortable usage, and i never had any issues with the performance of this app too. Google maps is a very effective tool, if you are on the road and quickly need to find points of interest or routes to your travel destination. But regarding routing it still can’t replace a full gps navigation system with on-the-fly directions, and 3d visualization like in example TomTom provides. Then again google maps has the big benefit that it is very up to date, while gps navigation systems depend on locally saved map data which can’t be easily updated. I use full navigation systems when im driving around in my car, but if you are on vacation in a foreign city, and you need to find the nearest restaurant with good ratings google maps is the way to go.
So wrapping up my review, i can clearly state that i recommend installing this little free app to anyone who has a supported mobile device with internet access.
You can download the app and find further information about supported devices on the official google maps for windows mobile page.