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Vodafone adds Google Maps in web services blitz

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In its fourth deal in a week to bring popular online services to mobile, Vodafone announced it would develop a downloadable Java application for accessing Google Maps.

Last week, the operator signed up MySpace , eBay and YouTube to its Vodafone Live! walled garden internet service.

Use of Google Maps will come under users' usual data tarriff. On some handsets, which Vodafone said it would identify later, real time location information will be provided based on which network cell the user is in, like a less specific GPS.

At 3GSM last year, Vodafone chose Google as its search partner in a revenue-sharing scheme. It rolled search out in its first European market, Hungary, in December.

Google's EMEA operations VP Nikesh Arora said: "I am delighted that Vodafone intends to offer it to their customers. It is one example of how our two companies are working together on technology that helps people manage information online and on the go."

All nice 'n' cosy then. Also last week, however, reports said Vodafone was eyeing up a move away from Google by working with a host of other mobile operators to create their own search engine in order to grab a bigger slice of the anticipated mobile advertising bonanza. ®

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