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.
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: