Google Maps for mobile extends its reach

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Google Inc. began February by making its free Google Maps feature available on U.S. Windows Mobile devices for 2003 models and higher.

Extending the availability of the service allows a greater number of users to view interactive maps and satellite imagery, find local businesses, get point-to-point driving directions and view live traffic updates, wherever they get cell phone service.

The Windows Mobile 5.0 version of Google Maps for mobile is also GPS-enabled, allowing users whose mobile devices support GPS functionality to view their current location. Rather than requiring a user to input a starting address, the application automatically displays the user's current location on the map as a flashing blue dot. This information is taken into account when searches are made for local businesses or request driving directions.

The feature was first released in the United States in November 2005. It is available on most J2ME-enabled devices, all color BlackBerry devices and all Palm devices running OS 5 and above.

Users visit www.google.com/gmm on either a desktop Web browser or mobile device to download it.

Other mobile applications the company offers are its Gmail e-mail application, Google News and standard Google search.

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