Location Coming to the Browser

Location awareness is definitely coming to Chrome. The only question is how soon it will be integrated. I was at Google yesterday talking about mobile and My Location and it was clear that Google will be integrating its cell-tower database, which is the basis of the mobile My Location tool, into Chrome.

Google recently launched a Gears Geolocation API, conceptually not unlike Yahoo’s Fire Eagle. It similarly works with third party apps on the desktop or in mobile. On the desktop right now it taps into IP targeting. But the Geolocation API will soon be able to use Google’s cell-tower database (and maybe other similar methodologies in the future). And others can bring their location awareness capabilities (e.g., Skyhook) to the Gears API.

All of this will be baked into future versions of Chrome. As readers of this blog know, I’ve spoken repeatedly in the past about what becomes possible when location is passively discovered and discovered with greater precision than IP targeting:

  • You will see more advertisers (large and small) using location more precisely
  • More ad inventory will develop for both the desktop and in mobile (which can support LBS and the micro targeting fantasies that segment as spawned)
  • Demographic targeting via more control over location
  • Customized landing pages, customized sites; think: Target, Home Depot featuring locally relevant ads or specials on their homepages for local users
  • Locally relevant news, video, events, etc. (What XOHM is trying to do with its content partnerships) on any site or page.

Et cetera, et cetera.

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5 Responses to “Location Coming to the Browser”

  1. David Mihm Says:

    One of the etceteras: Not to mention more 10-packs or search results dominated by Local, as opposed to Organic, algorithms! :D

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    When It happens, we’ll see how it plays out.

  3. mo Says:

    How did Goodle get its Cell Tower ID Database?

  4. Greg Sterling Says:

    They mapped the locations. It’s something of a “manual” process. Same thing has been done by others for WiFi locations.

  5. The Future of Local — Revisited « Screenwerk Says:

    [...] I’ve said, location is coming to the browser (cell-tower/Wifi triangulation) probably next year. So once Google or Yahoo know where I reside [...]

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