There is much talk at the moment about ‘how‘, ‘when‘ and ‘if‘ the mobile browser will become the replacement for applications.

The theory makes sense, once handsets are powerful enough we’ll no longer need hundreds of apps all wasting space on our phone, we”ll just launch are browser and get what we need through that.

If you take the desktop internet experience today as an example – Google Docs, Google Maps, YouTube, Hulu and even Photoshop all can be accessed in the browser. Obviously some have limitations compared to applications that exist on your hard drive but they are improving literally everyday.

It stands to reason that one day this will migrate onto mobile. Currently handsets and operators aren’t quite there yet, faster, more reliable networks and hardware will be required to do the heavy lifting as some of these services need high speed connections and better processors to work efficiently.

Google have just lunched a new addition to their search homepage called ‘Near Me Now’. The button, which only appears on US iPhone and Android handsets that visit, allows the user to search their immediate vicinity.

The site uses the phones GPS to find user location and provides categorised results such as coffee shops, bars, ATMs and banks.

If you take a look at the video below you’ll see it in action. It’s basically taken one of the best, most useful parts of Google Maps Mobile application and thrown it into the browser.

It’s nowhere near as visual or rich as the Google Maps Mobile app but the functionality is there. This is the start, a mobile website is hooking into the GPS function on the phone..what’s next?

…You can probably expect things like camera functionality to be streamed directly into a mobile web page (like the webcam chat on Gmail, left) one day soon.