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Google Expands Geolocation API to WiFi

Previously Only Available for Mobile Phones

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Google GearsGoogle announced that they have expanded the Google Gears Geolocation API to include WiFi compatibility. Previously, it was only available for mobile phones. It is set up so that applications using the API can find WiFi networks within 200m.

Google’s Geolocation API allows developers to deliver personalized data based on geographic targeting, and in developer-speak allows them to:

– Obtain the user’s current position, using the getCurrentPosition method

– Watch the user’s position as it changes over time, using the watchPosition method

– Quickly and cheaply obtain the user’s last known position, using the lastPosition property

Examples of applications Google cites that use the API are lastminute.com’s radar app and ITN’s Google Earth Mashup (pictured).

ITN's Google Earth Mashup

Developers will be happy to know that they can use the same code for both mobile phones and WiFi, and that it is supported by IE, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, and will be soon by Opera. It is of course already supported by Android. Charles Wiles, the Product Manager of the Google Mobile Team writes on the Google Code Blog:

In Chrome and Android, with Gears built in, you can deliver a location enabled web site without requiring your users to install a plug-in, but in other browsers they will need to go through a simple plug-in install process. We also submitted a simplified version of the Geolocation API as a WC3 specification and the upcoming Firefox 3.1 plans to support the W3C version directly. The Gears Geolocation API is completely free to developers and users through the default Google location provider.

For laptop users this only means that around the world, they will be able to enjoy more geographically relevant information from applications created by a growing number of developers, which should ultimately make for a more useful and enjoyable experience with said applications. The WiFi-capability expansion also applies to Google’s My Location, the Google Mobile functionality that brings geographically relevant information to mobile phone users.

Google Expands Geolocation API to WiFi
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