Thursday, July 31, 2008

Google Mobile Maps: Soon tracking locations?

Google recently released their Google Mobile Maps for transit, enabling mobile Google Maps users to get mass transit schedules based on their current locations. In a nutshell, this extends mobile location-based services from driving directions (the most common) and walking directions (recently introduced by Nokia and Google) to bus/subway directions.

So what's next?

A friend of mine believes that Google's next version of Mobile Maps will actually track the GPS locations of busses, either by partnering with transit authorities or by tracking its mobile users while they're using mass transit, so that we can find out where the busses REALLY are, as opposed to relying on their schedules.

The interesting connection is to Google's internal project (discussed here and here) that gives its employees access to real-time GPS information about the locations of employee shuttlebusses. Google might be building this system just as an employee perk, but TechAHA agrees that it's more likely using it to experiment a future version of Google Mobile Maps, which will give real-time bus location information.

The remaining question is this: Will Google partner with transit authorities to get bus locations, or will it track its mobile users locations?

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