Google Adds Local Services to Mobile Apps

From local business listings to interactive street maps, users can now access Google Local information via a mobile web browser and driving directions using Google SMS.

“Whether people are traveling long distances or looking for a restaurant in their hometown, Google’s new mobile services make it a snap for them to find what they’re looking for — without the hassle of referring to paper maps, reference guides, or often outdated directories,” said Jonathan Rosenberg, vice president, product management, Google Inc. “Google’s mobile search and Google SMS services are important advancements in our goal to provide users immediate access to valuable information anywhere and anytime.”

Google Local

When users visit http://mobile.google.com/local on their XHTML-enabled mobile phone, they can enter their search term in the ‘What’ search box and location in the ‘Where’ search box to receive results from Google Local. For example, if users enter the query ‘wifi hotspot’ in the ‘What’ search box and ‘90266’ in the ‘Where’ search box, they will receive Google Local results of wifi hotspots in Manhattan Beach, Calif. Currently available in the U.S. and Canada, this service enables users to find business listings and driving directions, view an area using Google Maps with zooming capabilities, and click-to-call.

Driving Directions

With Google SMS, users have another choice to access information on-the-go. This service enables users to send a search query as a text message to the U.S. five digit shortcode 46645 (GOOGL on most phones) and receive Google Local, Froogle, finance, weather, and movie showtime results. Today, Google added driving directions to this list. For example, if users enter the query ‘from jfk to 50 broadway new york’, they will receive turn-by-turn driving directions as a text message on their mobile phone or device. Google SMS is available on most U.S. carriers. More information can be found at http://sms.google.com.

Google has been offering mobile services for more than four years. In 2001, Google Web Search was introduced via WML-enabled and iMode-enabled phones (Japan). This past year Web Search, Image Search and several advanced search features were introduced via XHTML, enabling more users to access Google’s index of more than 8 billion web pages and more than one billion images from their mobile phones.

More information about Google’s mobile products can be found at http://mobile.google.com.