Two updates from Google’s quest to map and photograph the whole world – the Google Maps application for Windows Mobile and Symbian got a little tune up, which brought Search by voice, and Google Places will feature photos inside various restaurants, gyms and more, taken by Google teams…
Google Maps 4.1 for Windows Mobile and Symbian S60 phones finally caught up with the BlackBerry and Android versions of the app. Just press the call button and speak your query. This works for all types of queries that Google Maps supports, but in English or Mandarin only.
There are some other changes in the new version as well, but they are mostly minor – things like a redesigned settings page. To get the new version of Google Maps, direct your phone’s browser to m.google.com/maps and install the application.
Google Places allows businesses (restaurants, gyms, etc.) to register information with Google so that it shows up in searches. This info is used by the ‘Near me now’ search to find the closest place to eat, for example.
Up till now, owners could upload photos of their business, but now Google photographers will lend them a hand. The photos will give you a sense of the ambiance but will also be informative – i.e. there will be photos of signs that show what credit cards are accepted, posted menus and so on.
A couple of sample shots
For now, this project is in trial form, with about 30 cities in the US, Australia and Japan getting their businesses snapped. If you’re in the right city and want to participate, check out this page.
Source: Google Mobile blog, Google Lat-Long blog