Eventually Google has launched a “Local” service for mobile users.
Check it out
Unfortunately it’s for the US only and works on j2me devices, which is actually the majority of the devices on the market (at least the ones sold in the last couple of years) so this should not be a problem.
I am pleased that Google is launching such service, location based services have been available in theory for years but operators did not like very much the idea of providing that information to service providers and did not even develop any service themselves. I remember many years ago some company from Nothern Europe promoting a game to played on your mobile phone and based on informations about your position. People would walk around the city and meet other players and were supposed to virtually shoot the other player. I think it was SMS based.
Google is offering the most obvious service location based, which is find places near you such as a restaurant, a farmacy, a shop, but there could be tens of other services that companies could developed based on your position.
I read the FAQ, or at least part of it. I was curious to see any information about how they do it. There isn’t much information, of course, but I thought it was funny that one of the first questions was about privacy and taking pictures from the satellite in real-time. This is so dumb in my opinion. People wants to know their position and know shops near him, but don’t want to have pictures taken and maybe Google should delete the information immediately. This sounds to me like going to the doctor and asking for a medicine but not telling him about what you feel and what’s your ache and expect him to be able to provide a cure. I know this can sound like a paradox and someone might jump up and shout at me, but I reall think it’s like it. Like people using a credit card and then be upset because the bank knows that you purchased something in a specific shop at a certain time. It is OBVIOUS that if you want that kind of service you will HAVE to share that information and MOST OF ALL the bank does NOT compel you to use it. You are not OBLIGED to get and use a credit card. If you want to put your money under your bed you’re allowed to, but then don’t complain that to buy a new car you need to bring a bag full of money. 😀