Google goes outdoors with new app for Android phones

13 Feb 2009

Google has introduced a new My Tracks app for Android-powered phones, which tracks outdoor activities of users who jog, cycle or hike using the phone’s built-in GPS.

The My Tracks application for Android-powered phones, such as the T-Mobile G1, shows tracks on a map and presents live statistics, including an elevation profile.

It also lets you easily share your activities with friends and the world using Google Maps, as well as archive your training history with Google Docs.

“Many GPS receivers require you to plug a separate device into a computer, install software, transfer, convert and upload your track to the web,” explained Dylan Casey, a former professional cyclist who is product manager in charge of MyTracks. “With My Tracks, this has become a whole lot simpler.

“I no longer need to carry multiple devices when I go out for a ride, and I can easily share my rides on the spot with anyone I’d like by recording and uploading my track right from my phone and then sharing it out via email or even Twitter.

My Tracks allows outdoorsy types to record and visualise GPS tracks while running, hiking, biking, skiing — or engaging in any other outdoor activity. The user can also get live statistics, such as total/moving time, (average) speed, distance, and elevation profile.

They can then send performance statistics to Google Docs to build a training history, and mark places and describe activities for others to discover via Google Maps.

At Google, employees are encouraged to spend 20pc researching and developing new products, and Casey says that My Tracks was developed as a 20pc project.

By John Kennedy