Google awarded patent for cell coverage based directions

by: Joe HindyNovember 17, 2012

While Apple is off getting patents for break neck technological advancements like the rectangle and turning pages in books, Google has been after something a little more worthwhile. We’re all familiar with GPS. A bunch of satellites in space send our devices a signal that uses that signal to pinpoint our locations. Google now has a patent that works much like that, but with cell coverage.

Lets break this down. According to the USPTO, the patent is much like GPS. It involves finding the destination and current location. However, the location and route to the destination can be altered by wireless coverage. In other words, Google can now use your cell signal to help better figure out where you are and where you’re going.

So Google patented using wireless signal along with GPS?

That is pretty much what it means. The patent isn’t for GPS location itself, but rather for the act of obtaining better information after the fact to pinpoint your location more closely. Google has used things like this before in the past. Like when Google Maps asks you to turn your WiFi on so it can work better. It’s much like that.

Adding this patent to their library should help Google continue to improve their Maps and direction services. This without risk of being sued for it. Did Google do well with this latest patent? Let us know your thoughts.

  • David

    This can only be good

  • wutang

    patents are bad for the consumer because it inhibits the companies’ abilities to make their best product. so did google do well? in this crazy world, yes. in any other world, no.

    • Leo Goile

      With respect I disagree with you and I do agree with Benjamin Collins. The Patents should be time limited as this will allow the originator to establish their ‘Invention’ and then allow other to Better it.

  • Patents are necessary to create very cost prohibitive products/services. 20 years, however, in the tech world is an eternity. Page turn? Okay, you have one year. Cellular radio wave location enhancement? 5 years. Next case. There should be discretion and oversight, when there is basically nothing but a robot with an approval stamp staffing our patent office.

  • Nevi_me


    Google did well. We can call this innovative . Cell data is normally accurate to a range that doesn’t make it useful for things like navigation. I believe Google uses wifi in a similar way as A-GPS (unless they’re the same thing).

    I support their application of the patent, it’s not something trivial that I could spend a weekend working on and get right. It’s a move in the right direction. Every decent phone these days has a GPS chip, so it’s logical for engineers to move towards faster and more reliable tracking, Qualcomm has GLONASS, it’s good that Google get a software based solution (presuming that their technology will work on current devices) to make products better, especially given the size of their investment in Maps.

    Wifi was not going to work very well, there’s privacy concerns (#StreetViewGate anyone?), and it’s based on the assumption that hotspots are fixed at certain locations. I’ve had my mobile Wifi router report that we’re home when we were 60km from home, cell towers are a better solution, especially due to their abundance.

  • Sorry Joe, but you’re not explaining this patent correctly.

    This is a patent for creating a path from A to B that uses “cell phone coverage” as a factor. So you know how on Google Maps, there’s a checkbox for “Avoid Toll Roads”? Google can now have an option for “Avoid Areas Without Reception”.

    • Marvin Nakajima

      I agree.. After reading the patent itself it sounds like just another factor that you can use to reduce the amount of cellular ‘no-coverage’ areas along the route that will be plotted on the map for your trip. This could be extended upon by being able to specify a carrier as an option in addition to your own phone’s carrier.

  • aholsteinson

    This is actually a worthwhile patent (as opposed to page turning animations). This is definitely for their Maps service but I think it also hints at their possible plans to start their own carrier. 2013 will certainly be an amazing year.

  • Eye Opener

    A LOT of articles I’ve seen are so incorrect it’s a wonder if this is a opinion based site or Attempting to be factual. First this patent is for Exactly how CJ Explained. Second As Far as Apple goes Apple has acquired and invented more crap than what Google steals, pays for later (after a court order) and then complains about. I am a Android user and a Software Designer and Developer so Believe me when I tell you this Android Much like everything else Google does is a Layered Product of Linux and Danger. Linux cannot be sold otherwise you void the terms. That is the only reason It is not sold. Name one thing google invented that was not already out. I’ll go first with Apple the Newton (1993) which All Of today’s cell phones are based off of.

    • Tyrel ting

      Man get your facts straight the pda was out way before he newton not to mention the newton sucked also even if the things were true Google has never claimed any of the things they made to be “inventions” unlike Apple who ever other day claims to have invented something which sometimes are just kinda copying and other times blatant ripoffs even the name iPhone was ripped off from linksys Apple just buried them in money from selling there overpriced products

  • They are stockpiling patents, that is why they bought moto last year. They will need them to ward off apple when apple sues them inevitabley