Fast tip: one-click access to Google mobile applications on your phone

Wednesday, March 12, 2008 | 7:40 AM



I've heard it said that user interfaces are measured in "hurts." Here at Google we like things to be as painless as possible. That's why we're happy to share a little-known feature of many phones that allows you to launch your favorite app (hopefully Google Maps!) with the press of a button.

Buried in the settings menu of many phones is the option to configure "convenience keys" (or "sidekeys," or "shortcuts," depending on the device). Convenience keys let you configure a physical key, usually on the side of your phone, to instantly launch whatever application you choose. For instance, here are some instructions for how to configure a BlackBerry, Blackjack, and Nokia N95 for one-click access to Google Maps for mobile:

BlackBerry 8800: Go to Options->Screen/Keyboard->Convenience Key -> select 'Google Maps'
Samsung BlackJack: Select 'Settings' icon ->More ->Key settings ->Side key settings ->Select 'Google Maps'
Nokia N95: Press the 'Menu' button ->Tools ->Settings ->Personalization ->Standby mode ->Shortcuts ->Left/Right selection key -> Select 'Google Maps'

In the video below Steve Lee and I show you how to set up these quick access keys. Be sure to catch our death-defying duel at the end of the video, where one of us bites the dust while the other hurls obscure movie references.

Finally, if you use shortcut keys on other phones please submit a comment below so that others can give them a try.

12 comments:

Yancmo said...

Being a new Blackjack II user, I found this nice and helpful. I didn't realize the quick keys where there.

THANKS

Mike said...

These convenience keys are great-- I think the instructions for the 8800 apply to virtually all Blackberries.

These guys look kind of scary; what's up with that hair?

I like the draggable driving directions video much more.

Jason Trenkler said...

Excellent tip fella's ... Now get to work on the ability to sync contacts via google sync for Blackberry.

cgull said...

I use Palm Centro I can also use the side buttons to use Google Maps. But I use Butler program and have favorite keys, I use M to activate Maps programs.

cgull said...

Or you can alternatively select the one of the buttons for Google Maps via System --> Preferences --> Buttons --> Choose any one of those buttons for Google Maps.

Ken Berger said...

Windows Mobile Pro:
Settings->Buttons, select a button (button 3 or whatever the button is for wireless manager is a good one), 'assign a program' to Google Maps.

sharifi14 said...

Very useful and informative video - thanks.

Being an N95 user, I was very interested to see the ability to use Google Talk on the N95 (at 4m 04s - 4m 07s). How do I go about getting this for my device?

DJ Goodmea said...

Although I have a Samsung "smart phone," v804ss I am unable to download the latest version of Google Maps and Gmail. The older java versions work well. I guess Google doesn't think my phone is so smart...

I continue to receive the "Softbank Generic" error upon download.

The old version is great.

Matt Tavani said...

For Nokia E-Series (S60) devices you can easily add Google apps to the standby shortcuts or soft keys on the main phone screen.

Tools->Settings->Phone->Standby mode...

...then set the left or right selection key, or...

...go into Active Standby Apps and assign a Google App to a shortcut. Just make sure that Active Standby is ON in the previous screen.

On the E65 there is also a custom 'Own' key which can be set from the Tools menu.

I have Gmail and Maps on my home screen and it's very convenient indeed.

R said...

Is there a way to get google search on the main screen of a smart phone, and not have to go though the web browser?
-Thanks!

DJ Goodmea said...

R,
When you download and run the java applet it should display on your main screen.

ma said...

so nice