Keep your starred items in sync with Google Maps

Wednesday, December 2, 2009 | 7:50 AM

(cross-posted with Google LatLong Blog)

Google Maps for mobile has long allowed you to add stars on a map to mark your favorite places. You may have noticed a few months ago that Google Maps for desktop browsers introduced the ability to star places as well. Unfortunately, there was no way to keep these starred places in sync with Google Maps on your phone. With today's release of Google Maps for mobile 3.3 on Windows Mobile and Symbian phones, you'll now be able to keep the starred places on your phone and on your computer completely synchronized. It's like magic, but magic that you can use. Let me show you how:

My colleague Andy is at his desk right now, and he wants to check out some comedy in London tonight. Google Maps lists the 4th result as Upstairs at the Ritzy -- it sounds like a great spot: cheap, fun and comfortable. With one click, Andy stars the item and he's done. When he walks out of the office and turns on Google Maps on his Nokia phone, Upstairs at the Ritzy will be the top place in his list of Starred Items, and it will show up as a star on his map. From there he can call the theater, get walking directions, or even SMS the address to a friend.

Starring on Google Maps for desktop computers and Google Maps for mobile

Starring places also works great when you're out on the town and you find cool spots using your phone. I was in Paris with my wife recently. We visited the obvious tourist spots like la tour Eiffel and le Musée du Louvre, but we also found a few interesting places we hadn't expected. While wandering the streets of Paris, we stumbled upon a cafe...the sort of place you'll remember forever, but immediately forget the name. I started Google Maps on my Nokia phone, searched for the name of the cafe (Les Philosophes) and starred it, knowing that when I come back to Google Maps on my computer at home, it will be starred, right there, on my map. How cool is it to create a trail of interesting places from your phone?!

For users upgrading from an older version of Google Maps for mobile, you'll be asked, when you log in, whether you'd like to synchronize your existing starred items with your Google Account. This means you can preserve all the work you've put into customizing your map on your mobile, and have it show up, conveniently, in Google Maps in your desktop browser.

To enjoy the benefits of all this mobile synchronization goodness, download Google Maps for mobile for your Symbian or Windows Mobile phone by visiting m.google.com/maps in your mobile browser. And don't worry, we're busy building this same functionality into our other mobile versions of Google Maps -- so sit tight.

40 comments:

Fernando said...

Nice! But when I'll be able to use Google Latitude on my Samsung JET? It has GPS, Touch, 3G and Wi-fi. I only access to the basic Google Maps!

Patrick_R said...

Couple of issues thrown up by this new Update...

Firstly, my existing "landmarks/stars" in Google Maps for Mobile, do NOT get sync'd over first time, to the desktop version, despite the mobile app telling me it is doing this. I assume it's because they themselves were created by way of Nokia Ovi Maps Landmarks, but if Google Maps Mobile sees them fine, as it always has, and can handle them, why can't they be imported into the Desktop version, in exactly the way you say they can?

Second issue - since installing the new Mobile Maps Update (for Symbian), all the Contact Images/Photos for my Latitude Contacts, have all been wiped.

Nice. Not.

headless said...

Excellent - just in time for my trip to London tomorrow! Already looks like it's going to make that trip a whole lot less stressful!

David said...

When I installed this new version, every time I click Layers from the menu, I get an Internal Error :0 message and the app quits.... I am running on Windows Mobile.

Anyone else getting this?

Sam Stokes said...

Thank you for implementing starred places sync to and from mobile - I have been wanting this for ages!

Sadly I get the same crash bug as David above: when I click Layers on the menu, Google Maps for Mobile immediately exits. I didn't get this with the previous version of the app (I'd have noticed, since Layers is one of my other favourite features!).

My phone is a Nokia E71 (S60v3 FP1).

lowlight said...

It's good to see that SOME developers at Google are doing something for Windows Mobile! Now if only Gmail worked ;)

Allen said...

I am getting the internal error also when layers is selected. When I first installed this version, my HTC TP2 slowed to a crawl. I had to unload Google Maps and reset. When I reinstalled it seems to work OK except the layers issue. Favorite syncing works well, but it is a little slow.

Serafina said...

Can't wait till this is in Android!

Chris said...

Hi everyone,
If you're experiencing problems with Google Maps version 3.3, can you please report them in the Google Mobile Help Forum:
http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Google+Mobile?hl=en

Post a question, tag it with Maps and Windows Mobile or Nokia/Symbian, and include the requested info like your exact phone model so we can help troubleshoot the problem.

If you've reported issues above, please post them in the forum so we can communicate back and forth with you if needed.

Thanks!
Chris

Stefan said...

The addresses of the stars get synced, which is great, but the aliases of the stars do not.

Example: My home, address is 123 Main Street (obviously an example), I've starred the location and renamed the star to "Home". When I then go to maps.google.com and view my stared locations it does not show "Home" as the star's name, instead it shows "123 Main Street".

Can you please fix that in 3.3.1 :-)

Thanks, LOVE the product, use it multiple times a day.

D said...

uh, what about getting this for ANDROID?? you gotta be kidding that this needed feature is available for WinMo, and not for the flagship DROID

Eduardo Pugnali said...

I have the same problem of David. Every time I click Layers from the menu it quits the programa.
The difference is that i´m running Google Maps on Nokia E71, a Symbian Device.

Doug said...

Any other surprises or is this the only difference between 3.2.1?

PhaseBurn said...

Android user feeling left out in the cold, here :-(

Any ETA on this feature for Android?

Manuel said...

I just installed it on mi iPAQ 510. Looks pretty but is noticeable slower than the previous version.

BTW I don't know why GMM can't figure out my location using cellular triangulation but the google mobile app can (or at least it does not need wifi to be turned on to guess it).

snafu109 said...

Like some users above, when accessing Layers the app crashes/quits (ie quits instantly with no notification).

Nokia E63.

Chris said...

For those who see an error or crash after selecting Layers from the Google Maps menu, please try resetting Google Maps to fix this problem. Keep in mind this may reset some locally saved info like your Search history:

Symbian S60
Select 'Options' > 'Tools' > 'Reset Google Maps' then press the 'Reset' option when prompted.

Windows Mobile
Select 'Menu' > 'Options' > 'Reset Google Maps' then press the 'Reset' option when prompted.

Ocular Avulsion said...

Love it! I am so excited that there is a sync between my phone and the internet in this way.

Bad thing though, crashing the app on my Nokia E71 when trying to select Layers from the menu.

David said...

@Ocular Avulsion

Do what Chris (the post above yours) stated. It cleared up the problem for me.

xandrale said...

Doesn't work on my iPhone. :o(

Allen said...

resetting Google Maps as Chris said worked for me as well. I don't know why it clears the photos for Lattitude icons though.

Salvador said...

I reset, but the crashes on my WM Omnia are still happening when I click on the MyLocation button. Besides, the Latitude icons are no loading anymore... needs some quick fixing.

In the meantime I have downgraded to 3.2.1 ...

Patrick_R said...

Chris / Anyone else...

Can anyone tell me how I too can also DOWNgrade to the prior SYMBIAN version, 3.2.x - where I might get it from?

As Google seem keen to fix the Layers Crashing error, but not the least bit interested in doing anything to resolve the "No Latitude Contacts Photos on Pushpins" issue.

And I need my Latitude Contacts Photos back.

So can any Google Staffer, or anyone else reading these, tell me where I might DOWNgrade to the prior 3.2.x Symbian version from?

Siapa Aja said...

@Patrick
Try this http://m.google.com/maps/download/binaries/L1/3.2.0/GoogleMaps.sisx?dc=gorganic&hl=en

I'm also back to 3.2 as I wanna keep my Favorites get synced with Nokia Maps.

Chris said...

You may now get version 3.3.1 from m.google.com/maps which fixed the Layers error/crashing issue.

Cheers,
Chris

SDintact said...

Wow. Very nice post. Well done to you....keep up the good job.

Allen said...

3.3.1 has fixed the problem for me. The only strange thing is that the latitude friend icons go away.

Patrick_R said...

@ Allen...

Yeah mate, this is already notified to them (see my comment, the third one of the very thread).

Alas, despite semi-acknowledging it, they have not yet been able to do anything to fix this, and 3.3.1 only fixes the Layers Bug, NOT the Latitude Contact Photos Bug.

@Chris - Chris, can you take Allen's (and others in the actual help forum itself) additional notification of this issue, as being solid indication that there IS a very real bug for many, with 3.3.x not showing any Latitude Contact Photos.

I have tried numerous re-installs, as well as Google Maps Data Resets.

Nothing brings back Latitude Contact Photos.

So a fixed version is needed.

In the meantime, I'm going back to 3.2 as not only does 3.3.x have this terrible Photos bug, but it STILL does not sync my Starred Items, despite your advice to me specifically elsewhere.

Yes I see the words "Syncing Starred Items" in GMM. Yes I leave it alone...

And all I get is the word "Loading", in the corner of GMM, no matter how long I leave it, and every now and then, this changes to "Syncing Starred Items".

I can leave this twenty minutes, and it still says "Loading", and then now and then changes to say "Syncing Starred Items".

And this being on a wi-fi connection that is linking to a reliable 50Mb connection.

So please mate, get them to fix the Google Latitude Contacts Photos completely gone bug asap.

The starred items can wait as long as it needs, as far as I am concerned, because if they don't actually sync, it's of no value to me.

So 3.3.1 has brought me no additional value or features, but HAS removed my entire Latitude Contacts Photos.s

Hope this helps mate.

Chris Beard said...

Great stuff. Works a treat (so far) on my E71. Am off to DUblin this week end so it has saved me some time With my map making.
I agree with Stefan I would be good to sync the Names of the stars not just the addresses. As I use stars a lot I would like it Stars to be a layer in their own right so we can hide them on our mobiles when their not required.

Kudos to Google Maps and Maps Mobile team for another Great feature!

Tuomas said...

Unfortunately I'll also have to say no thanks to the latest 3.3.1 version. I'm very sad to see Google has stopped synchronizing the favourites with Symbian's native Landmarks. This was a key functionality for me.

Also, a second thing that REALLY annoys me. I live in Finland where the address coverage for roads is not so great - especially in rural areas. Now I absolutely CANNOT add a placemark for a location that Google Maps cannot map to any street address. If I try, Google Maps will instead move the placemark to the next recognizable street address - and that might be kilometers away! Please PLEASE revert the functionality so I can add locations based on geographic coordinates alone.

I cannot understand why these two key functions had to be broken in the first place.

Salvador said...

I also installed 3.3.1, and after pressing 2 or 3 times the MyLocation button, the application exits/crashes as before. So I really haven't seen any changes between 3.3.0 and 3.3.1...

Looking forward to 3.3.3, but definitely keeping my 3.2.1 backup (it is still available through Latitude mobile)

Ann said...

Maybe I am just clueless, but I have an iPod touch and I cannot find where to star a business or see my starred businesses from the Maps app. Can anyone offer some help?

soydeedo said...

@Ann

This update is not available for your device just yet. Here is an excerpt from the first paragraph:

"With today's release of Google Maps for mobile 3.3 on Windows Mobile and Symbian phones..."

Rafa said...

In my opinion, this version has a serious flaw in Symbian OS.

By taking the item "favorites" and replacing it with "item with Star", there is no synchronization with the "reference points" of the cell.

In previous versions of Google Maps, when we marked a local as favorite, it was automatically recorded in the "reference points" of the cel.

Nokia Maps, for instance, uses such "reference points" as favorites. Places marked by the Google maps were recognized by the Nokia maps and we could use Google maps search engine to reach places through navigation of Nokia Maps.

Google Maps Wed place and Nokia Maps took me there by car, with voice navigation. They did that by sharing favorites through "references points". This no longer occurs in the newer version.

MrTonk said...

I am using 3.3.1 on Windows Mobile 6.5 Build 23088, and I can confirm that, while My Location appears to be accurate, when I hit the blue button to go to my location, it crashes every time. I am now back on 3.2.

Tuomas said...

I can't really revert to 3.2 either, because that version is not compatible with Nokia E72's Location API. Google Maps constantly says "Preparing GPS", but never gets to active state. This has been fixed in 3.3.1, but with the major problems in favourites and the lack of synchronization with S60 Landmarks, I can't upgrade to that either.

croker said...

Google,

Great work, love the potential of syncing across the mobile/desktop divide, but the loss of shared favourites with the nokia landmarks has me running back to the older version. The ability to find on google maps a location and nokia maps to take me to it is to great.

But a great update non the less - cant upgrade and lose that feature though

Jon (Nokia e71 and 5800)

Aisha said...

The My Location feature is never right. The sad part is as a Google operating system this should be the easy part but next to a Blackberry 8320 which has the accurate location in the same place this phone is off by more than a few streets. Everything else seems to be working fine, but please fix the my location.

Jeff said...

First, great work so far. I am continually impressed with the speed and quality in which Google is releasing applications. I’m using a Nokia 5530 and find Google Maps works much better than Nokia’s map software.

The ability to sync stars is a great concept but I do have a criticism with the way that names are synced and displayed. Ideally I’d like what I see on my phone and on the PC to be the same thing (even if the PC method is gimped because of this).

As a previous posted said, stars saved on the phone show up online, they even include the names in the left menu bar, but the stars only show an approximate address on the map. Please consider making this something that will be changed in a future release.

Manish said...

Does any one knows when Google map on e72 is going to support compass. And is any one else noticing that starred items are no longer visible in landmarks on e72. It used to be good option on my old e51 that i can search places using google map and save as favorite and later navigate using Nokia maps.