Google Maps for Mobile Gains Layer Support


google-maps-mobile-latitudeGoogle (s goog) brings more desktop-like functionality to handhelds with the newest Google Maps for Mobile. Version 3.2 for Microsoft Windows Mobile (s msft) 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 (s AAPL) owners will have to wait for a separate Google Maps release to gain the additional layer features, while Android and BlackBerry (s RIMM) 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

As I was tinkering around this morning, I did notice that I can use Latitude on my iPhone through Safari. Hitting up 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.



Adnan Siddiqi

How developers could find out the Layer/Label name for any particular coordinate ? For instance if some user of my website visits Google map via Site and record his coordinate by using HTML5 Geo API, how do I know where did he mark the point via Web?

A. Davis

Well, now that its live for all it would seem that yesterday was a bit of a fluke as it was “gradually rolled out” and working for some, but not others. Its working for me now…

Andy Bryant

I wonder if there’s a way to use this for geocaching.

Kevin C. Tofel

Not sure if I stumbled on to something that’s not officially ready yet or not here. I’ve got a note into my contacts at Google for clarification.

A. Davis

It would appear they’ve enabled it for some users or areas, but not others? Perhaps there’s something you need to enable in your Google account before it will work on the iPhone?

A. Davis

Tried with 3G and WiFi… same “coming soon” results. It can’t be that it only works with the 3G and not the 3GS can it? That would almost seem backwards…


Sadly, for us Palm Pre users, we still have to wait for a google maps version with walking directions, favorites, mass transit…

The move from Windows Mobile to WebOS has been wonderful in many respects, but I do miss my old google maps.

A. Davis

Very odd. When I hit from my iPhone 3GS it shows me a little image and says “coming soon”. I’m wondering if you’re on a beta or something? Are other JK readers able to use it? Odd that it worked fine for you…

Kevin C. Tofel

Actually, maybe it’s *not* odd. Once I read your comment, I went back to try it again. It didn’t work for me — I got the same “coming soon” message. Then I went back into the History folder of Safari on my iPhone to see how I did it before. Looks like it took me to the Google Mobile site where I’m asked to sign in. I just did and I have Google Latitude working again. Interesting….

A. Davis

Hmmm… I wasn’t logged in, but I tried logging in and then hitting the latitude page and it still says “coming soon”. I logged out, dumped my Safari cache, logged in again and tried again… still see a “coming soon” page. :(

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