Mountain View (CA) - For some time now, cell phone users who aren't endowed with their own GPS (yet) have been able to dial up a map of their present location through a cell phone or handset, using Google Maps. The trick has generally been to know where you are, which usually requires a street sign - if you're in the middle of a wheat field, you're out of luck.
Realizing this, Google is making some changes to its Maps application for mobile users, starting today: With a Java application called Google Maps for Mobile, the revised system will show users where they want to go, and using live traffic congestion data supplied by 30 metropolitan areas - with more to come - color-code major streets and thoroughfares with green, yellow, and red indicating their relative viability. Textual feeds will enhance the report with notification of accident locations and travel conditions.
PC users who want to try out the maps for themselves should upgrade to the latest version of Java. Google will detect you have a PC, and present a sort of "cell phone emulator" that you can click on to operate. In our tests, we discovered that traffic on the 101 freeway was moving quite smoothly past TG Publishing's corporate headquarters - a report which is, of course, wrong.