Google touts mobile navigation system

Google touts mobile navigation system

Mapping and location service for non-GPS phones

Google is developing a mobile phone navigation system which it hopes will give GPS a run for its money.

The company confirmed that the latest beta of Google Maps will include a new feature known as My Location.

My Location will support GPS but is primarily designed to offer mapping and navigation services to mobile devices that lack GPS capability.

Rather than using a GPS satellite connection, My Location uses data from nearby cellular phone towers to give the approximate location of a device. This is then used to provide area maps and directions.

Google estimates that just 15 per cent of mobile devices are equipped with GPS.

"Some people are lucky enough to have GPS-enabled mobile phones that provide location information, but the vast majority are not," said Google software engineer Mike Chu. "Starting today, we have an answer."

Google claimed that My Location is supported on all colour BlackBerry and Symbian Series 60 Third Edition phones, as well as most Windows Mobile devices.

It is also said to be supported on newer Sony Ericsson handsets and some Motorola devices.

However, My Location is absent from perhaps the most high-profile Google Maps device: the iPhone. An Apple spokesperson declined to comment on the omission.

Google was similarly tight-lipped on whether the feature will be part of its upcoming Android mobile platform.

A spokesperson said that the company had "no specific plans" to announce in regards to Android.