Google brings more desktop-like functionality to handhelds with the newest Google Maps for Mobile. Version 3.2 for Microsoft Windows Mobile and Symbian S60 handhelds now supports map layers and custom maps. If you create a personalized map with the My Maps function on a traditional computer browser the new mobile version can see your map.
Layers add information to your maps like Wikipedia entries related to local objects, Google Latitude locations of friends, photos of nearby places and more. Google says you can use multiple layers at the same time for a richer experience. Search is beefed up as well with an updated category list to help minimize typing on the small screen.
All of these features are useful, the Google Latitude integration remains most interesting to me. While there are a number of friend tracking apps already available, Latitude combined with all of Google’s other services and map layers makes for an appealing combination.
iPhone owners will have to wait for a separate Google Maps release to gain the additional layer features, while Android and BlackBerry handsets have supported Latitude since earlier this year. Windows Mobile and Symbian S60 owners can grab the new software and layer functionality by pointing a browser at http://m.google.com/maps.
As I was tinkering around this morning, I did notice that I can use Latitude on my iPhone through Safari. Hitting up http://www.google.com/latitude did the trick. My iPhone 3GS asked me if I’d allow Google to use my location and once I allowed it, the browser showed me and my friends on a map. Looks like I need more friends — and more layers.