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New Google Mobile Interface - discovered via robots.txt

3:29 am on Mar 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Garett Rogers of ZDNet was poking around Google's robots.txt file and discovered this rule: Disallow: /m/lcb

Ever curious, he typed the URL into his browser and found a mobile interface that lets the user navigate through some key search results without typing.

The feature works pretty well, but it would be even better if it could somehow figure out your exact location rather than simply the city. This way it could browse real businesses that are close to you rather than everything in the entire city. Maybe if you pass in some weird parameters with latitude and longitude it will do exactly that, but I canít confirm that at the moment.

Since this feature probably isn't "finished" yet, Iíll leave most judgment out of this article, but it is promising.


11:30 am on Mar 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Neat stuff. I poked around for a bit... I might use it.

Not sure if something like that will compete will the new GPS PDA's coming out from Garmin... They basically show you all that "local" stuff without you having to type in a location... which is pretty cool.

12:22 pm on Mar 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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What we need is a generic standard way for a web site to request the users GPS coordinates. Luckily not many phones have GPS as standard so it is not so relevant just now.

It should be a simple javascript property or method which will alert the user that the site wants their GPS coordinates. It could also supply a margin for error so that pseudo GPS devices like the iphone can still work and the user can force it to give a wide area to protect privacy.

5:45 pm on Mar 25, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I have a HTC phone that does have GPS built in and can see it being such a money maker for the likes of Google in the future.

You can get a version of Google maps for it, which can give an approximate location using the physical location of the nearest cell masts, or if you have a GPS built in (or a blue tooth one) you do get the specific location, tie it in to the satellite view and it does become a useful toy!

There is a useful bit of software from a company called navizon which can give you a location either by using GPS or by detecting the wifi hotspots & cell masts the phone can pick up. Currently they pay people using its software for each wifi hotspot/cell mast - I can see them slowly mapping up the location of 95% of all such spots in most majour cities, then sell this data via some form of API to other software makers - imagen a "majour brandname coffee shop locator" running on your phone - the marketing possibilities are endless.

Finally one usefull feature of the GPS that I can use now is the ability to add GPS location references to photos taken with the phone.

12:58 am on Mar 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

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There are several ISO standardss relating to geopositioning data formats I do believe.

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