I ask for and strongly recommend 2 enhancements to Google Maps on the BlackBerry platform. (OS 5, 6, 7 at least)
1) Enable the use of available Wi-Fi data connections for the Google Maps app on the BlackBerry platform.
This would be a win-win- for Google, its local search advertisers, and users. Why deny Google the ad revenue, local businesses the visibility, and your users the functionality? Even BlackBerry Maps works over Wi-Fi (on BB OS 7.x) and on non-BlackBerry data SIMs (on BB OS 6), so why not Google Maps? Google Maps works fine over Wi-Fi on Symbian, iOS, and Android. Why is it blocked on BlackBerry?
It's unconscionable to continue to deny BlackBerry users the excellent Google Maps functionality if there is no cellular data connection available at the particular location.
Google Local Search works in the BlackBerry Browser over Wi-Fi (even with no SIM and even on very old BB platforms like OS 4.6 on Pearl) and over non-BB SIM data connections, so why not the Google Maps app itself, which is far more convenient and comprehensive? Please stop putting up the black box saying "This application requires a data connection .." over the top of a perfectly useful map that the device is showing, possibly based on Wi-Fi hotspot location information, and then forcing the Google Maps app to exit!
Use cases where Wi-Fi data for Google Maps would be extremely valuable and is sorely missed now:
A) Poor signal areas, such as indoors, rural areas, etc. If WiFi is available, for example in a hotel or restaurant, at work, or at home, users should be able to pull up maps to verify their location and surroundings, find services & businesses, plan a trip, pre-cache their route, etc. Don't restrict us simply because of adverse coverage or geography, when many other apps and services on the BB work fine over Wi-Fi, even some from RIM itself.
B) International roaming. Since RIM itself doesn't restrict its native Maps app (or the BlackBerry browser, etc) to only a BIS or BES or direct cellular data (APN) connection, why is Google blocking Wi-Fi for Maps? You are simply causing yourself a bad reputation and locking out your loyal users from very valuable functionality. Why make us pay expensive roaming charges unneccessarily when a free Wi-Fi connection is available? Yes, this would eliminate some roaming carrier revenue, but why make BlackBerry users pay this, when Google allows the other 3 popular platforms' users to avoid such charges via Wi-Fi?
C) A plus B: no cell signal and roaming. The worst place for no Maps is in a strange land with no cell coverage. Please be merciful to us and enable Maps for safety and comfort while traveling when Wi-Fi is available. Again, this would provide a revenue boost for Google, and would enable indispensable services for travelers, and new customers for the businesses they seek.
Also please let prior maps remain on the BlackBerry screen and Map history without erasing them if you exit and re-enter the Maps app but have no coverage (so your 'driving navigator' can see a previously-selected map and route while you are driving, etc). Google Maps Version 4.1.1 for Symbian S60 provides a good example of this very valuable 'remember last map' functionality, even through power cycling.
2) Please make Google Maps start quicker on BlackBerry when "your current location is unavailable". Please use cell tower location information to provide at least an approximate location quickly, and reduce the 30 second or longer 'clock spinning' even on fast hardware like the new BlackBerry 9810 and 9900. Google Maps is one of the slowest-starting apps on the BB OS 7 platform now. Surely you can make it useful quicker with some optimizations.
Thank you for your consideration of these requests.