June 22, 2012, 2:50 AM — Google has launched a location-based tool that combines its mapping technology and Android smartphones to deploy offsite staff effectively depending on their locations.
Using the new Google Maps Coordinate, call center employees at a company can quickly send staff to a trouble spot or where service is required quickly by finding out which of its employees are closest to the problem site, Google said.
As the number of mobile employees continues to grow, so does the need for a location sharing tool that works in real-time, Google's senior product manager, Daniel Chu, said in a blog post on Thursday.
"When a business signs up for Google Maps Coordinate, they get access to the Google Maps Coordinate web and mobile apps," he added. Google Maps Coordinate is built to work with Google Enterprise Maps and Earth, and comes with an application programming interface (API) that can integrate with existing company systems, Chu said.
Employees in the field download the mobile app to their phone which will then send their location even if they are indoors. Google Maps Coordinate integrates with Google Indoor Maps which provides indoor mapping information of some participating sites. Companies can also upload their own floor plans, and locate workers and jobs indoors based on Wi-Fi information.
Employees can also enter directly into the app information like measurements and client contact details.
The tool is being offered by Google at an introductory price of US$15 per user per month up to Sept. 1. Mobile workers will need a phone or tablet running Android 2.3, 3.0, 4.0 or later.
Location data will be stored in Google's network of geographically-distributed data centers, Google said. The service will not deliver advertising to workers, it added.
For employees that do not like to be tracked after office hours, the tool only works when workers have Google Maps Coordinate running and are in visible mode, Google said.