This is a bit off topic from my regular Traffic and Conversion topics, but you've just got to know about this.
It's one of those jaw-dropping things that Google has done that causes you to marvel in amazement at their cleverness. At least, it did for me when I first learned about it. And it's not just because of what it does, but because of what it does ON MY PHONE!
Context is really important in just about everything you do. So if you're thinking about how you need to buy milk for your family, but it's the middle of your workday, there's not much you can do about it.
Well, if you suddenly need to get somewhere, and don't know how to get there, and didn't spend $2,000 to have a navigation system added to your car, what are you going to do?
Google Maps, Mapquest, and similar desktop applications are fine, but they aren't going to help you unless you open up your laptop on the freeway, set up your wireless internet connection, or drop by your local Starbucks to tap into their Wifi connection.
All of those options can be cumbersome.
So do this instead — run Google Maps on your cell phone!
Yes, you can now run Google Maps on your Treo — and many other cell phones — *and* pretty much get Google Earth there, too.
So, while you're stopped at a light, you can tap in the address of where you are, where you want to go, and Google will lead you there every step of the way with both textual directions and a map.
And, on my Treo, if I want to get a traffic report on my route, I can do that too!
Warning! If you have a cell phone plan with limited data access, or if you have anything but unlimited internet access, be VERY careful. This application transfers a LOT of data, and your cell phone company won't be bashful about charging you for it.
Ready to give it a try?
I can tell you how it works on my Treo, but your phone may differ.
Whip out your phone (here's a list of supported devices) and point your phone's browser to http://www.Google.com/gmm
The system will recognize your phone and offer to download the application to it.
Once that's done, choose Run.
That's it, and you're in business.
Click the menu, choose "Find Location", and type in your address. Google will go fetch a map of that area.
You can zoom in or out with buttons at the bottom of the screen.
Click the menu, and choose "Directions", and it will let you type in a destination address. Click OK and it will draw a route map for you. Pressing the space bar gives you step by step directions to your destination.
Back to the menu again and choose "Map — Satellite View", and you'll see a satellite photo of your neighborhood. Yes, REALLY!
And the real killer part of this little application???
Press menu again and choose "Show or Hide Traffic" to see Real Time Traffic for your Journey.
Ever wondered which route to your destination has less traffic? Now you'll know, and you won't have to wait for a traffic report on the radio.
You can learn more about Google Maps for Mobile devices at the Google Mobile Maps page.
Enjoy! I look forward to your comments. Will you let me know when you discover some other cool google tricks, too?