Hidden Google Gem: My Tracks

I’ve really enjoyed making videos for webmasters. In the most recent recording session, we decided that it would be fun to talk about some of the “hidden gems” of Google: features, products, or tips that you might not know about, but you might like.

One of my favorite hidden Google gems is a program for Android phones called My Tracks. I like it enough that we made a short video about it. Enjoy!

As always, you can watch more videos on the official webmaster video channel on YouTube.

49 Responses to Hidden Google Gem: My Tracks (Leave a comment)

  1. Since I don’t have an Android (yet) … I use sportstracker from Nokia (on my N95), which is very comparable to the one showed in this video. http://sportstracker.nokia.com

    Same situation … I’m a developer, and I bike to the office :)

    Great stuff.

    Greetingz,
    Koen<

  2. Hey Matt… I wrote an article about this (and you) last week:
    http://phandroid.com/2009/08/21/mytracks-for-runners-hikers-bikers-and-more/

    Now you just have to take the advice of Michael Martin from GoogleAndBlog (comment $16) and ditch the iPhone for an Android once and for all! It’s so much better! Or maybe you’re just holding out for the holiday droids…

  3. This is a very cool app. Another reason for going with Android. Loving my new HTC Hero phone. Have you done any more ‘Hidden Gems’ of Google vids? I’d recommend Google Sky Maps – I had a whole pub in awe of my phone last friday as they passed it round looking at Sky Maps in action.

  4. Rhonda

    Thanks for the Gem Matt

    My Tracks is good for exercise Matt but for food (the other important part of the health equation), the best Android app is Calorie Counter which has everything you need complete with a super cool Bar Code scanner (also lacking in the iPhone) – it totally rules!

    Rhonda

  5. Indeed,

    This is one of the best Google tool on Android.
    I used it during my skiing holidays to track my exploit. Very funny :)

    Regards
    Sylvain

  6. Looks a great little app. I thought Google phones/android would compete with the iphone a bit more. Well, I still like my G1.

  7. Diablo

    Can’t wait to get myself an Android powered phone one of these days, but I can’t justify such a purchase yet. Just wished the monthly plans from the phone companies didn’t add up to so much. The geek inside me suffers.

  8. The application looks cool. But seriously who wants to track himself. Maybe good for spying on someone.

    Or maybe your wife wants to track where you go all the time. Just joking :-)

  9. Hi Matt,

    I’ll try it next days for my running programm. Why is there no note on the Google startpage for this great app?

  10. wow, i like it, where can i buy android phone? i mean i am living in Ukraine, and i realy want this phone)

  11. step21

    works with cars too if you don’t have a builtin car computer telling you average speed etc.

  12. Didn’t know Google had such an app. The sharing features of My Tracks look like a lot of fun. However, after an hour or two of running and the need for reading glasses (which I don’t bring with me when I run), entering a bunch of data into my G2 at the end of a run just ain’t going to happen. If I may, I suggest to others like me, the Buddy Runner app (I have no affiliation) is also pretty cool and has many of the same features as My Tracks. If you’re interested see how it looks you can see it here: http://www.buddyrunner.com/chris000

  13. used this for the first time last weekend, here are my tracks from a beer tasting event. :)

  14. SeoProfy, I’m not sure for Ukraine, but HTC has a nice successor to the G1 that a lot of people like. It sounds like quite a few Android devices will be out later this year, too.

    matt mcinvale, that’s a great track! :)

  15. you forgot to mention my favorite feature…uploading of the data to a google spreadsheet. It great for tracking improvement on a given route

  16. Ian Ward

    The fact that you can import GPX files is very cool. It is something you can only do in a very limited way on the iPhone by viewing My Maps through maps.google.com on safari (lame). I’d love to add the Map Editor app’s ability to load KML files.

  17. ali

    Hey Matt,

    You have lost a lot of weight :)
    Well done.

  18. Very nice ap. I really appreciate the Google Maps gps program I’m using on my Blackberry. My provider offered a “Paid” gps service that I wouldn’t spring for when I bought the phone. Glad I didn’t cause the Google app is better and free.

  19. Who would thought a free program could do better than the paid ones. I’m sure your cameraman will be laughing at you for paying some application that is not so good as his android apps that he got it for free.

  20. webjet

    Neat and fun little app, with very practical and entertaining functions (as demonstrated by matt mcinvale), all good fun!! As always Matt C your videos are entertaining, easy-going and informative.

  21. Very nice! A possible addition and use model: keep it running all week, then have he application report where you stand on the scale between “Active healthy person” and “Morbid couch potato”. Many people could benefit from realizing just how LITTLE they move around, either at work or outside.

  22. I can’t wait to drop my phone in the toilet so I can buy a new phone that can run all these super cool gadgets!

  23. I love the GPS functions on phones. I use my Nokia Navigator’s GPS (and texting functions) more than I use it to make phone calls. The new applications coming out, like My Tracks and Google Latitude make this whole field really fascinating.

  24. Hey, nice Gadget! Thanks for sharing! Even when I like the new iphone, as a google lover, the android phones seem to be more and more interesting. At the moment my old Samsung P520 wants to be replaced – by a new phone and especially by a functional UI – and with these cool apps the Google phone moves to the first place in my wishlist. :)

  25. So it’s now android VS iPhone. It seems that the iPhone has been somewhat hindered because it isn’t a google OS.

  26. I’ve also found something similar for Symbian s60 (cause I don’t have iPhone, and android based mobiles aren’t available in Ukraine yet, but I have Nokia E90 :)).
    http://www.racechrono.com/

    It’s free as beer and seems to be pretty good. Will check it on next run.

  27. In my opinion, you should make some interesting games or give rewards to browser for the sustainable development of google. Now, you do the first step, it is very well, Congratulations!

  28. Nice info Matt, thanks for sharing the hidden gems of Google for Android phones.

  29. that android feature is just crazy, from now on parents can control their kids going from or to scholl on time, lol

  30. Todd Follansbee

    Despite being a UX consultant of 10+ years, I am old school on mobile phones. Was intrigued by your Android video and went to the site. They don’t explain what phones it works on or what risks one might face downloading it, assuming there are instructions on that. Can you suggest that to the Android folks, consider an FAQ or a more complete “product information set”? (The complete set of information a visitor needs to gather to transact with a site).
    Would love to know more! Keep these videos coming.
    Thanks,

  31. David Minor

    I’m really looking forward to the apps from this year’s Android Developer Challenge, plus all the apps over the next few months from those of us who didn’t quite finish! It’s great that the barriers to mobile development have become practically nonexistent.

  32. angilina

    Mister John Q Public [siliconvalleyuser@gmail.com], have got 139 emails in the in-box.

    And I saw a subject “How can I … become a SEO guru like you”

    Do John Q Public replies to such emails and share some secrets ? :)

  33. some of the “hidden gems” of Google

    Why does Google hide useful functions?

  34. Tim

    There are also other I-phone apps which work like the “Sportstracker” from Nokia, which will track the course and time etc. but with a bluetooth Heart rate monitor will also track your heart rate as you ride around the course has been very useful for training and watching how much fitter you get. :-)

  35. I particularly like the fact that it takes into account the times when the cyclist was stationery.

    As a regular runner, I can sometimes be a bit frustrated waiting a short while for traffic in order to cross a road. It doesn’t happen often but can scupper potential PBs. With something like this, you could take those stoppages into account.

  36. Paul, when I was a long distance runner I would avoid roads etc and run where there are no roads, or at least traffic.

    Also, IF you take stoppages (getting your breath) into account, you are only kidding yourself.

  37. Nice :-P

    I use RunGPS on my Diamond2. It’s a great program, but it’s not free lige Google Maps.

    Jacobsen out!

  38. I just finished my first month of biking to work. I hope that one day I’ll get an HTC hero to look at my time.

  39. Greetings!

    Did not know about this program untill reading about it here, I tried it out yesterday, wonderfull app, I used to use Nike+ with the IPod, but I’d rather use my HTC Hero, and this works for more than just running :) thanks for the tip! and keep up posting theese great videoes.

  40. LOL, I loved some of the other e-mails you got!
    “Jonny Q is hot”… Or Jessica and her Moonlit stroll on the beach last night…

    I just thought that was funny… cool app!

  41. Reminds me of the standard hand-held GPS devices, only now it’s something available within a phone. The consolidation of all the tools does make things really nice for portability – the only issue I could see having is trying to decide which tools I want/need to use today.

  42. Thanks for the info Matt. I want to get back into running and this would be perfect! As a recent marketing grad though, I guess this purchase will have to wait. Something to look forward to though! :)

  43. Text to Speech Mobile App -

    I really appreciate the Google Maps gps program I’m using on my Blackberry. My provider offered a “Paid” gps service that I wouldn’t spring for when I bought the phone. Glad I didn’t cause the Google app is better and free.

  44. Matt,
    I have been following your videos on here as well as on Youtube. For some reason, I had not seen this one. Good info on Android. A handful of companies are going into Android development. I have personally not used Android however As a guy who spends way too much time in Google apps, I look forward to testing Android now and as it develops.

    I have seen some forum discussion of people comparing Android to Linux is not relevant which makes me laugh sometimes. The target user is completely different based on very little that I know about Android.

    Just reading fllowing quote about it makes me want to play around and push the buttons of security in Android.

    “As if that wasn’t enough of an ix-nay for IT buyers, Android’s security issues are pretty significant. Because of the open-source nature of the OS, programmers have access to core functionality they wouldn’t be able to access when dealing with platforms such as BlackBerry, Windows Mobile or the iPhone’s OS X.”

  45. Very Nice Gem indeed Matt, was totally unaware and I live in the Gadget world. Good to see a fellow engineer keeping up with the gadgets. Chow !

  46. BartC

    @SearchReadySEO: The person you’re quoting apparently doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Programmers can’t just change the OS on your phone… you have to install a new ROM to change the core functionality (kernel, core services, …).
    All the developers can do, is write apps for Android, using the SDK. Most apps run under their own user, and thus have no access to data belonging to other apps. Apps have to specify which services they want to use, and the user is notified before the actuall install. If you don’t like what you see (e.g. a calculator app that needs access to your contacts and full internet access), then you just don’t install it.

    WinMo is the most open platform of all for developers, despite it’s closed source nature. On WinMo, you got very low level access to all harware, with all the advantages and disadvantages that brings.

    on the iPhone, you don’t know what an app is using (except for location services if I’m not mistaken), so you just have to trust Apple to make the right choices. You’re right in saying that programmers just can’t do that much with the iPhone, since some functionality isn’t exposed or allowed by Apple, but it still leaves enough room for a lot of interesting apps.

    I don’t know enough about the Blackberry to say anything sensible about it…

  47. Love it! I used it when I biked to work today. I like that it told me my average speed too.

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