Google Location for iPhone: Smaller is Now Better!

iPhone 2.0 Geo Tagging!

The iPhone Map App, which leverages Google's mapping services, became location aware with 1.1.3, and GPS enabled with the iPhone 3G and 2.0.

Basically, it superimposes a blue circle around the area it believes you're located. More confident the belief, smaller the circle. GPS lock, and a blue dot shows up. Only problem? Sometimes there's not dot and Google's lack of confidence results in a pretty huge circle. Well, last week Google's blog announced some improvements:

With today's launch, your location estimate will be centered closer to your true location, and we have also improved the calculation of just how good our estimate is. When we originally launched the "blue circle" on Google Maps for mobile, the circle usually stayed the same size no matter if you were in downtown Manhattan or rural Iowa. Now, the next time you're using Google Maps in downtown Manhattan, expect to see a much smaller circle that's also far more accurate. Conversely, when you're in a lightly populated area like rural Iowa, expect to see a much larger circle which also happens to be centered closer to your true location.

The best news? No update required. Anything tapping the Google force for location -- including the iPhone, benefits automatically! Enjoy!

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Google Location for iPhone: Smaller is Now Better!


Is it really a feature of Google Maps only?
Point is: not only the Maps application, but every other application that uses Core Location will get data that were collected using cell phone tower triangulation.
Question is, if the only Maps application uses the new features introduced by Google or all applications using Core Location will benefit from the changes.
Beside that, can anyone confirm the improvement on the "blue circle", because it seems that at least there is no improvement for me at this time....

Well, after testing a bit, I can confirm both.
Yes, the "blue circle" (that crosshair-thingy) got smaller, also for me. Not only smaller, but also disturbingly accurate. Beside the fact that accuracy readings were just below 1000ft, the center of the circle wasn't further away than 30ft from my real position!
And this is also a "yes" on "will other applications benefit", I've tried that and accuracy readings became better on 3rd party apps (as long as they didn't use GPS).
Beside of all this, I'm still a little puzzled that the iPhones Core Location relies on Google so much (as it seems...).