Google and Microsoft both recently released new mobile mapping services: Google Maps Mobile and Microsoft Live Search Mobile. Google Maps seems to respond and refresh the screen faster (compared on the same device using the same network). But, its new My Location feature that tries to figure out your location without a GPS didn’t work for me. I tried it in two locations about 10 miles apart.
Here’s what surprised me though. I generally use Google Maps when using a desktop or notebook PC. And, I might use Google Maps Mobile if I were actually looking for a specific place for which I already have an address and just need to know where it is located geographically. However, I think the Live Search Categories, Movies, and Gas Prices features invites more exploration to see what’s around as a simple interesting exercise.
There are couple of things about Live Search Mobile that irritates me though. The fonts on a Smartphone (I use a Dash) are too small for my aging eyes. They look ok on a Pocket PC with a 640×480 screen though. I also found that characters were disappearing and reappearing for every character I typed when searching over an EDGE connection. It was not as noticeable when using a WiFi connection. The speech recognition is if-fy in noisy environments (I tested that aspect in a Starbucks). It seems to be reasonably good in a perfectly quiet room though (but how often to we have that luxury?).