Google Maps adds location awareness to your browser

Google Maps adds location awareness to your browser

google maps‘My Location’ is a great feature of Google Maps for Mobile. Being able to find exactly where you are at the touch of a button is incredibly useful. Until now though, the browser-based version of Maps has lacked this feature. Today Google is rolling it out.

A new ‘My Location’ icon has been added to the map controls, between the Pan and Zoom controls. It will only appear if you’re using a browser with the latest version of Google Gears installed. Firefox 3.5 and Chrome 2.0 should work without any extra installations being required. Installing Gears on any other browser will get you up and running with the feature.

My Location buttonIt works using the wi-fi points around you to determine your location and when we tried it we were astounded at its accuracy. Results may vary, though – if you have no wi-fi points near you the service will use your IP number to work out a rough estimate.

Still, if you’re out and about with your laptop you may well be grateful to have the feature to hand. Google’s location-based social service Latitude will become more useful when it integrates with this feature. Latitude hasn’t taken off in the mainstream yet. It’s currently limited to users of supported mobile phones – even the iPhone is excluded. Once people can share their browser’s location we may well see a flood of new users (and uses) for Latitude.

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