Skyhook Brings One-Click Location to Publishers

As I’ve written many times in the past, as location on the PC becomes more precise lots of interesting things happen for both users and advertisers. This is something I’ve also been talking to Skyhook Wireless CEO Ted Morgan for about three years.

Skyhook’s location 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 of publishers to bring “one-click” location to their sites. Among them:

* AllMenus.com (www.allmenus.com)
* BrightKite (www.brightkite.com)
* CitySquares (www.citysquares.com)
* Flickr (www.flickr.com)
* Krillion (www.krillion.com)
* Loopt (www.loopt.com)
* MapQuest (www.mapquest.com)
* NearbyNow (www.nearbynow.com)
* Outside.in (www.outside.in)
* Praized (www.praized.com)
* RedPlum (www.redplum.com)
* TheFind (www.thefind.com)
* WeatherBug (www.weatherbug.com)

Here’s what it looks like on WeatherBug:

Picture 12

It’s to the right of the location box on the nav bar at the top of the page:

Picture 13

Picture 14

If you’ve already got the Loki plug in, clicking will immediately takes you to a localized version of the page:

Picture 16

If you haven’t got the plug-in it prompts you to download it.

Picture 15

Once the plug-in is downloaded you’ll simply have to click the “Locate Me” link/button on the other participating sites to enable the triangulation. Many of these sites above already ask users to input location manually. So what does this bring to them? Its faster and theoretically offers a better user experience. MapQuest told me yesterday that in some cases people neglect to input a location in the where box. (Google recently added location/triangulation to its PC toolbar.)

Beyond the ability to localize a version of the site, there’s also the ability to do a better job of geo-targeting ads. This offers more precision than current IP-based geotargeting (down to the neighborhood level if desired). For example, the Volvo ad in the screenshot above could mention a local dealership or other relevant local information. The advertising dimension of this, however, is not going live with the “Locate Me” button. That will come later.

This development is a big deal and part of this broader trend toward greater location precision on the PC, as well as in mobile (which we all know about already).

Some folks are just starting to get a sense of the potential here — location is about more than pizza and plumbers, it’s also about brands — and how location will become more and more central to the user experience and online marketing.

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16 Responses to “Skyhook Brings One-Click Location to Publishers”

  1. Placecast Teams with Alcatel for Lo-Mo Ads « Screenwerk Says:

    […] Screenwerk Greg Sterling’s Thoughts on Online and Offline Media « Skyhook Brings One-Click Location to Publishers […]

  2. Peter Cranstone Says:

    Greg,

    If you have time I’d be interested in some feedback on a free product we’re just about to release. It integrates location directly into the mobile browser. For example you can now go to any search engine and (if you select the appropriate privacy options) share with them your current location (GPS, Cell Tower ID).

    We’ve always wondered why no one has taken this approach before. Everyone knows how to use a browser, it just seems logical to integrate location directly into it (plus we add some more goodies as well).

    Cheers,

    Peter
    5o9 Inc.

  3. Greg Sterling Says:

    Yes, this is an important development. Know of one other working on same thing.

  4. Greg Sterling Says:

    Not sure. One of the majors discussed location in the mobile browser but didn’t talk about the enabler.

  5. Peter Cranstone Says:

    Interesting. Well in a few weeks you’ll be able to add an app to your Blackberry or Windows Mobile device that will allow you to share your location, device and other data with any web service you choose all from inside the browser.

    Cheers,

    Peter.

  6. Greg Sterling Says:

    Want to get a briefing next week

  7. Peter Cranstone Says:

    Sure. I can give you a live demo over the web as well if you’re interested.

    Cheers,

    Peter

    • Peter Cranstone Says:

      That works. Can you send me an email to peter dot cranstone at 5o9inc.com and I’ll send you the conference details. Also what time zone are you?

  8. Stream o’ consciousness for May 22nd | Mike Orren Says:

    […] Skyhook Brings One-Click Location to Publishers — 8:22am via Google […]

  9. Dave Hucker Says:

    Peter
    will this app be available for the Android Operating system?

    • Peter Cranstone Says:

      It’s a toss up at the moment. We’re 80% along for the Symbian version next. Really just depends on “how” standard J2ME is on Android. If it’s close we should be able to get there reasonable quickly.

  10. Dave Hucker Says:

    Thanks Peter.

    It looks like J2ME isn’t all that ‘standard’ right now. Maybe it will be when the release of ‘cupcake’ update comes. (early June..)

    more on J2ME on t-mobile forums:
    http://forums.t-mobile.com/tmbl/search?submitted=true&q=j2me

  11. Peter Cranstone Says:

    Thanks. That means that Symbian will be next. (This release will cover Blackberry and Windows Mobile – so at least you get to play with it and can see how it will work on the other platforms)

  12. Peter Cranstone Says:

    Just posted some screen snapshots of it working on the Blackberry. You can see them here: http://www.5o9mm.com/me.htm – you just enable the check boxes on the data you wish to share and that’s it. From there on out everything is inside the browser. You will also see brand new menus inside the BB browser – clicking on any of the search engines will automatically send your location data to them. For them to use it, all they have to do is read the data as it hits their web servers. (Just a few lines of code).

    For Windows Mobile users it’s even easier. You can just use JavaScript to access the device side capabilities from the browser.

    Cheers,

    Peter

  13. Firefox 3.5 Bakes in Location « Screenwerk Says:

    […] is using Skyhook’s technology to ascertain user location. It had previously enabled this feature in a plug-in called […]

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