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Google gives UK mobile maps the green light

Service hits first gear

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Google Mobile Maps is now available to UK users for route planning and local searching.

The service, integrated with Google Earth for showing satellite images, has been available as a Java application for a while. But with the UK launch Google has enhanced the route-planning capability, as well as adding searches for local businesses and traffic information.

Route planning works well, and searching for a local pizza or hotel offers useful information and a "call" button for getting in touch, as well as directions and other contact information.

Traffic information is currently unavailable, and Google couldn't say when it would be added, or where it's going to come from. However, it did say it's on the roadmap, and on the menu.

But the Achilles heel of the application is the amount of data sent and received. Anyone using Google Maps without an unlimited tariff might quickly find that taking a taxi would have been cheaper - though that's hardly Google's fault. It is indicative of the importance of unlimited tariffs in driving mobile-data applications.

Anyone with unlimited tariff, or a flagrant disregard for their expenses, can download a copy of the new version from Google here. ®

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