When Google released their “My Location” feature for Google Maps Mobile last November, it allowed millions of cell phone users without GPS to see their location, perform searches and get directions based on their location. This works by triangulating the location of the cell phone based on the signal from the cell towers and though it’s not perfect, it really helped in adding context to Google Maps Mobile (GMM) searches.
Now Google will be opening up their Location API so that 3rd party developers can access your location for new features. Jesse Newland found a way to access this information to update Fire Eagle in a jailbroken iPhone, but that required some knowledge of Unix-based systems. Now we’ll be able to see developers create applications that allow millions of people to get information about the world around them based on their location.
Google says that their Gears for Windows Mobile toolkit and Android already have Location APIs. Google hasn’t mentioned whether developers will be able to access their location servers directly or whether they’ll need to develop their own handset applications. I’m really hoping that it will be as simple as installing GMM and authorizing new applications to see your location automatically. This means that one application on your phone could be able to update your location anywhere on the web for location-based IM, Twitter, Facebook or searching.
Yahoo’s FireEagle platform was the first to be released, but the lack of applications and no native handset applications has proved somewhat frustrating. I like their model of allowing particular applications to access my information instead, but it’s no fun to update your location if there are no great applications to use it with. It still has a head start with the developer community, but automatically updating your location from virtually any phone is a pretty compelling feature from Google.Similar Stories:
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