Google's Near Me Now: not quite there

cover image for Google's Near Me Now: not quite there

Google launched a new mobile web service called Near Me Now that can recommend things like restaurants, bars and ATMs near you. This uses browser geolocation to provide only results relevant to where you are.


The idea is quite good: to replace business directories like Yelp or with something that is easily accessible from Google's homepage and uses Google's great relevancy algorithms.

However, the implementation is not quite there yet. My main gripe is that they implemented this using browser sniffing so that the feature can be accessed only with iPhones and Android devices. Even though I'm using N900, a mobile device that has GPS and provides geolocation through the browser I cannot access that site. That reeks of the bad old times of IE-only websites.

Lesson: if you need browser sniffing to provide some feature, implement it based on browser capabilities, not the user agent (which can anyway be spoofed easily).