For travelers, mobile applications that allow you to search for local places can be a pain to deal with. You constantly have to go back into the app to update your location. Sometimes it's easy to forget to do this, which can make your local search process become tedious and frustrating. Today, Google has announced their way of making local search a lot easier. Google's Local search homepage will now feature a new technology known as "My Location".
Simplifying Local Search
Available exclusively on Windows Mobile devices, Google makes good use of its Gears Geolocation API to get an approximate ID on where you're located. The API uses the same Cell ID technology Google uses for Google Maps on mobile devices. How does this affect your local search results? With My Location, users only have to type in whatever they're searching for without adding a location in. Whether it's sushi, the weather, or a local restaurant, Google will find both your results and your location. The API does most of the heavy work and cuts down on the amount of time spent typing in all of that information. We think this beats having to change your location every time you travel to another city or state.
Addressing Privacy Concerns
If you're concerned about your privacy, Google does its best to make sure your information is protected. According to the latest Google Mobile blog update,
"We take your privacy seriously and have designed Search with My Location so that it doesn't associate your location with any personally identifiable information, even if you are logged in. We won't send your location until you explicitly opt in, and you can always opt-out from the Gears Settings under the Tools menu."
We're glad they noted that you're opted-out of this option by default.
Unfortunately, only a handful of Windows Mobile devices are currently supported. It would've been nice to see this in the Google app for the iPhone too. International Google users will also have to wait for this feature, as it is only available in the US and UK. To check and see if your device is supported, head to "www.google.com" on your mobile web browser. A "My Location" link should be available right under the search box. You may have to refresh the page to see the link. If refreshing doesn't help then your device probably isn't supported at the moment. My Location is a small, but more than welcomed feature for Google Local search. Here's a brief clip provided by Google on how "Search with My Location can help save your thumbs".
Image Credit: The Official Google Mobile Blog