I’ve written previously on why I believe that Google gets it. I use several Google products myself, including Gmail and Reader because I’ve found that these are best in class apps that literally blow everything else out of the water.
Google Maps has been a work in process for me. I do use it whenever I need to find a business or a phone number but that was because it was linked from my personalized homepage more than anything else. Google’s tool to allow you to make free long distance calls from Maps was a step in the right direction, but it still wasn’t a killer app.
For me, Google Maps has now gone killer app for me. I just upgraded my phone to the sexay T-Mobile Dash and am on T-Mobile’s $5.99/mo internet plan. It’s enough for me to check my Gmail and Reader on the road or while I am waiting in a doctor’s office but I had heard that T-Mobile blocked a lot of ports to try and get people to upgrade to the $29.99/mo internet plan. I’ve found I can use AvantGo and Handango on the handheld, so I decided to try and download Google’s new Maps for Mobile program.
Oh. My. God. I had been using the Java app with some success, but it wasn’t that great. It threw out all kinds of nasty errors that had to be clicked through in order to get to the application. It was buried in my Java menu so it was rather difficult for me to find.
Site Map The downloaded version has a shortcut in my Start menu, which makes it easier to find for a newbie. I also don’t get any of the Java errors and warnings that I received earlier. Not only can I get up to the minute traffic information, but the app integrates itself with your contacts. This is the true killer app for me. Need directions to Aunt Mabel’s house? Pull up her contact in your phone and click “find with Google Maps”. Find a business and want to add to your contacts? Click “Add to Contacts” from Google Maps. While the integration from Maps to your Contacts isn’t perfect, it’s a whole heck of a lot easier than manually inputting from two screens.
Right now, Gmail is in a similar state with the Java application. I get the same errors, even though it does work (as does the browser version but the Java version has several enhancements). If anyone at Google is listening, I would love to see Gmail get a similar treatment with a download app. Integration with my calendar, contacts, and Maps similar to the online version would be wonderful as well, but I’d just take a download app at this point.
I still wouldn’t buy its stock, but Google gets it and gets it faster than anyone else. That’s why I will continue to use Google and be an evangelist for its services.