It didn't take me long to actually touch mobile and last week while traveling, I forgot another super useful tool for travel that I have to mention. That tool is Google Maps Navigation. Last year Google rolled out a turn by turn navigation component as an add on to their existing Google Maps product. I have historically been a user of both Google Maps and Mapquest although over time I have slowly migrated to Google Maps. When driving, using Google Maps can be a bit problematic as I have to keep looking at the phone as you go from point to point. Because of this, I would usually just print out the directions and refer to them if I got confused.
Once I upgraded Google Maps to use the Navigation plugin, I was blown away. Immediately, I thought that this was a game changer. Certainly the market did as shown by the share price of Garmin show here. Or more pointedly, the move by Nokia to offer a similar free service on the backs of their recent acquisition of Navteq for over $8 billion.
While I am interested in the underlying infrastructure and market implications, the real winning piece is the consumer experience which is second to none. In addition to being free, which is a price that is hard to pass up, the application also combines the ability to use layers to see things like gas stations, restaurants, etc. and also when you arrive at your location, Google Street View pops up and it shows you a picture of the place you are trying to find. I can say that I for one, will never rent a GPS machine from a rental agency ever again.
If you haven't tried this yet, I would highly recommend putting it on your phone.