Mozilla Geode: Location for Firefox

I was just talking about location in the browser this morning. Just a few minutes ago I stumbled across Mozilla Geode, a Firefox plug-in that captures user location through WiFi triangulation:

Geode provides a rudimentary implementation of geolocation for the current version of Firefox uses a single hard-coded location provider to enable Wifi-based positioning conforming to the W3C Geolocation specification so that developers can begin experimenting with enabling location-aware experiences today.

The next version of Firefox will likely feature this built in. I’m speculating that users will have the ability to turn this on and off, much as they do on the iPhone.

It appears that Mozilla/Firefox will beat Chrome to market with more precise location awareness. The Sprint/Clearwire WiMax (ISP) initiative XOHM has this capability as well.

I predicted this morning that we’d see location in the browser in 2009. However maybe it will be 2008 when Mozilla does a broader launch of Geode or its successor.

If Mozilla and Chrome do this in short order, it will put some pressure on Apple/Safari and IE to incorporate Wifi or cell-tower triangluation into their next releases.

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Update: Here’s a new Mozilla post:

We’re still working out the specifics, but we’re hoping that location will be provided by one or more user selectable service providers and methods, e.g. GPS-based, WiFi-based, manual entry, etc. You’ll be able to play with this in the upcoming beta releases of Firefox 3.1, as well as alpha releases of Fennec.

It uses Skyhook Wireless’ WiFi database to locate the user/browser and asks permission before it turns on. It can also be tuned to different levels of location specificity. Right now, it’s a plug-in (like Skyhook’s Loki) but later it will be part of the browser download/update itself.

Developers will need to build applications (or convert existing ones) to take advantage of the browser’s location awareness of course. I’ve just installed the plug-in. Here’s where I am right now:

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12 Responses to “Mozilla Geode: Location for Firefox”

  1. Tim Cohn Says:

    I went to the site and couldn’t seem to find the plug in.

  2. Greg Sterling Says:

    Scroll down on the page I link to to here:

    Download & Try It Out

    You can download Geode here.

  3. Another Kafir Says:

    I downloaded the plugin.. where do i use it?

  4. Greg Sterling Says:

    Right now there are no developers that have tapped into this. It will need to be integrated by sites and applications.

  5. Mark Josephson Says:

    Hey Greg, we just did this. Go to http://www.outside.in/radar and give it a whirl.

    mark

  6. Nagaraju Says:

    Hi Greg – give this a try as well.. Nearby restaurants right from your browser – http://blog.boorah.com/2008/10/07/location-aware-restaurant-search-from-your-browser/

  7. Geode Apps: BooRah, Outside.in « Screenwerk Says:

    [...] Apps: BooRah, Outside.in I wrote last week about the new location plug-in for Firefox: Geode. This is a precursor to location being fully embedded in the next release of Firefox. Location [...]

  8. Geode Apps: BooRah, Outside.in | Trip Delivery Says:

    [...] wrote last week about the new location plug-in for Firefox: Geode. This is a precursor to location being fully embedded in the next release of Firefox. Location [...]

  9. Riaz Kanani Says:

    I think this is going to be huge – previous attempts to do this failed because websites did not develop for it.. the location capabilities of the iPhone though have allowed this capability to take off and now it looks like Firefox is going to do the same on the desktop – especially if it is built into the next release of Firefox.

    IE will have no choice but to follow here..

  10. Firefox 3.1 Appears to Include Location « Screenwerk Says:

    [...] Here’s my prior discussion of Geode. [...]

  11. Loki Brings One-Click Location to Publishers « Screenwerk Says:

    [...] awareness technologies (triangulation) are in many mobile devices now, but also in Mozilla’s Geode plug-in and, of course, the Skyhook PC Loki toolbar. Now the company has teamed up with an impressive list [...]

  12. Firefox 3.5 Bakes in Location « Screenwerk Says:

    [...] to ascertain user location. It had previously enabled this feature in a plug-in called “Geode.” Across the board the user experience is still a little clunky on these browsers but [...]

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