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Old December 20th, 2010, 10:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Google location services

What is the effect of the Google location services on battery life? Is it only active when GPS is enabled or does it run in the background? It doesn't look like GPS is on when only the Google location services is enabled without GPS being checked so I guess I am just confused as to what the effect is. It definitely helps accuracy of maps and location when I am using GPS but I don't want to kill my battery any faster by leaving it enabled all the time.

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Old December 20th, 2010, 10:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I would love to know more about this too, as well as other location settings. If you go into Menu>Settings>Location, there are 3 different GPS services:

- VZW Location Services
- Standalone GPS Services
- Google Location Services

I usually only have Google Location Services checked. When I turn on GPS with the GPS widget, I notice that Standalone Location Services also gets checked. So what exactly is VZW Location Services for? What's the difference between that and Google Location Services? When should these settings be used? What uses the most battery?
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Old December 20th, 2010, 10:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Vzw location service uses the cell tower location.
Google uses wifi hotspots.
standalone is the GPS.

the only one that uses battery is gps.
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Old December 20th, 2010, 10:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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brigand: Thanks for the info but I am still a bit confused.
When using the VZW location even without GPS enabled, I see that the cross hair icon in the notification bar gets the same ))) marks next to it so I am assuming it has to be communicating and thus is using power.

Does using both the VZW and the Google services while GPS is on make your location more accurate?
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Old December 20th, 2010, 11:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by AeolianReflex View Post
brigand: Thanks for the info but I am still a bit confused.
When using the VZW location even without GPS enabled, I see that the cross hair icon in the notification bar gets the same ))) marks next to it so I am assuming it has to be communicating and thus is using power.

Does using both the VZW and the Google services while GPS is on make your location more accurate?
Neither Google nor VZW services are "active" (ie they don't use power). the VZW service reads the location of the cell tower, while google uses the recorded location of the Wifi hotspot.

It doesn't make the location more accurate when using GPS, but it does help acquire the location faster.
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Old December 21st, 2010, 08:14 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by euph_22 View Post
Neither Google nor VZW services are "active" (ie they don't use power). the VZW service reads the location of the cell tower, while google uses the recorded location of the Wifi hotspot.

It doesn't make the location more accurate when using GPS, but it does help acquire the location faster.

Ok, I don't quite agree. GPS DOES make your phone detect your location MUCH more accurately. Within 3-5 meters some times. The more satellites you connect to the more accurate it can determine your location. This is the most power hungry location service.

Google Services use a database of wifi signals. When Google sends out their street view cars, they are also mapping wifi signals in the area (they might use 3rd party data as well). So, by looking at what wifi signals are around you, they can estimate your location. This uses less battery than GPS, but it still has to power sensors and phone hardware to work, so yes it uses battery. Anything your phone does, except sit there powered off, uses battery.

Verizon services uses cell towers and location information from the cellular network provider. And yes, still uses power, just not much.

Also, different apps use different services, google maps for example can't get a location if you only have on verizon services, and I'm pretty sure the VZ Navigator would need verizon locations on.

and I think Google's location services might use cell towers too... the difference then would be basically what database each is using to map nearby cell/wifi signals then determine location, and how the apps ask for and receive that data from the service.

For example, I don't think Google maps is programed to asked for a location from Verizon Location Services, which is why it doesn't work.

But in the end, GPS is always more accurate, if you can get signal from enough sats. You need at least 3 to determine a position, after that it gets even more accurate.

Test:
Turn off GPS, go into maps, click the location button, then click on your location. It should say, accurate to x meters. Then turn GPS on and do the same, it will be more accurate (if you can get a gps signal.)
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Old December 21st, 2010, 12:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I chatted with Verizon one day about VZW Location services. They told me the only thing that uses that is VZNav. I have read other people saying the same thing.

I typically just leave mine on Google Location services because I really don't require the Standalone GPS accuracy that often. Actually, never so far.
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Old December 21st, 2010, 02:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Ok, I don't quite agree. GPS DOES make your phone detect your location MUCH more accurately. Within 3-5 meters some times. The more satellites you connect to the more accurate it can determine your location. This is the most power hungry location
I answered they guys question about whether having Google location service on would improve his gps accuracy.

And Google and vzw dont use battery. The only power cost involved is in maintaining the data connection. You will use the say power maintaining a wifi/3g connection regardless of whether those settings are on. The only way they will use more power is if you turn on 3g or wifi JUST to get a location fix. Which would be an insane thing to do.




Quote:
But in the end, GPS is always more accurate, if you can get signal from enough sats. You need at least 3 to determine a position, after that it gets even more accurate.
Just to play devil's advocate, if you get wifi but not gps signals, googles location service will be infinitely more accurate. Realistically, wifi location will frequently be more accurate indoors.
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Old December 21st, 2010, 04:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I answered they guys question about whether having Google location service on would improve his gps accuracy.
They are two different things. GPS dosn't improve Google and Google dosn't improve GPS, BUT in determining YOUR location, using GPS alone is more accurate than Google alone. GPS improves your phones ability to determine its location.

Quote:
And Google and vzw dont use battery. The only power cost involved is in maintaining the data connection.
That sounds like there is a power cost to me... just not as much as GPS.

Quote:
You will use the say power maintaining a wifi/3g connection regardless of whether those settings are on.
Getting a location requires data to flow. When wifi/3g are sending and recieveing data, they use more power than when just listening, (on but no data flowing). Because getting a location requires sending and receiving data, they use power, more power then when idle. Its not much power, but ever time a location is determined there is a power cost. (on top of keeping wifi and 3g components powered up and listening for data transmissions)

Quote:
The only way they will use more power is if you turn on 3g or wifi JUST to get a location fix. Which would be an insane thing to do.
Mmmm... I actually do that. because just being turned on takes a bit of power, so they can listen for signals. Not much but some. I turn Wifi off when I'm not near a signal, because its using power constantly listening for whats around.

Quote:
Just to play devil's advocate, if you get wifi but not gps signals, googles location service will be infinitely more accurate.
Well, yea, thats why it's there. Your not going to get GPS signals in most buildings or parking garages or even in urban areas with tall buildings, or a forest with lots of trees, a valley or anything that impedes a line of sight path to the satellite. So, Google services can get you close, when you can't get or don't want to burn battery on GPS. Yes, a Google location is more accurate than no location.

Quote:
Realistically, wifi location will frequently be more accurate indoors.
Technically no, wifi (google location) is easier to get indoors, its not more accurate, the location doesn't improve when you go inside, its just that GPS is not available, because you have to have a line of sight to the satellite.

But, I guess you could say, wifi location is more accurate than an unavailable GPS, yes that is true.
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Old August 2nd, 2012, 09:04 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by euph_22 View Post
Vzw location service uses the cell tower location.
Google uses wifi hotspots.
standalone is the GPS.

the only one that uses battery is gps.
I never use WiFi on my phone and I also do not have Google location services enabled. If I enable it, does this mean that WiFi will also get enabled? Or how does this work? I do have the other two checked.

Thanks!

P.S. I have a Samsung Galaxy S3.
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