Metro: updated cities and minor bug fixes
The latest edition of public transport navigator Métro comes with bugfixes and updated info for the public transport networks of a long list of cities.
Métro calculates the best route between subway and railway stations, tram and bus stops, tourist attractions, and other places. You can pick the fastest route or choose the route with the minimum number of connections. Métro knows the routes and stations of subways, trains, trams, buses, and ferry lines of all major cities on the planet and many smaller cities too. It's got the public transport lines of about 400 cities all over the world.
Métro stores its public transport info on your phone, so you can navigate the routes and times without a live mobile internet connection. Great when you're deep down in a subway station without network coverage, or when you're travelling abroad and you don't want to pay a fortune for international mobile data roaming. Métro works on Symbian S60 and Symbian UIQ.
• Métro from metro.nanika.net
Google Maps with Google Latitude
Google Maps has been around for ages. They've added satellite images, street view pictures, and cell tower triangulation to the mobile phone version of their map application. Google Maps is quite useless for navigation, especially in places where mobile internet is expensive (international roaming) or absent (remote places), because its turn by turn navigation can not be heard but only read on screen in small print, which equals suicide when you're driving your car. Voice navigation and offline maps would be welcome additions to their program, but it seems that Google is too busy making other, less useful additions.
The latest addition to Google Maps is Google Latitude, a service that lets you share your current location to Google Maps so your friends can spy where you are, and vice versa. Not a good idea when you're cheating your wife when she thinks you're working late, but it might help you track your kids. And of course teenagers and their friends can track each other, because they're the primary target audience of this Twitter-like location sharing feature. If you really don't want anyone to find you, you can set a fake location to fool your friends and enemies.
You can chat, call, mail, or SMS your contacts from within Latitude, because it comes with Google Talk too.
At first glance Latitute looks like the illegitimate child of a threesome between Nokia Friend View, Nokia Maps, and Contacts on Ovi. But Nokia's programs don't talk well with non-Nokia phones. Google doesn't have that problem, because there's a version for Google's mobile applications for just about every mobile phone type out there.
Latitude is not yet for everyone, because it launched for 27 countries only. But the list of supported countries will probably grow, although nobody knows when.
• Google Maps at google.com (on the fly install)
• Google Maps v18.104.22.168 on Mobile Castle (downloadable installer)
• Google Latitude
Thursday, 5 February 2009