Ever since Google announced that it was opening up the Location API used in the Google Maps for Mobile My Location feature over 2 months ago, Developers have been waiting anxiously for word on the release. This morning Google announced the first glimpse of what the Geolocation API will look like by making it available in Google Gears for Windows Mobile, Firefox and Internet Explorer for PCs.
The first question that might be on many people’s mind when they see that it’s Windows mobile specific is likely to be, why just the one platform? There are a few reasons for this that will help explain the inner workings of the My Location feature and the overall landscape of Location APIs.
Cell Tower Location
Cell tower triangulation is a capability that is only relevant to GSM networks and almost exclusively to Windows Mobile. This means that this approach only works with T-Mobile and AT&T. In the simplest terms, Google is doing is polling your device to get the ID of the cell phone closest to you and comparing it against a database of locations that it has built. This feature was also made available for the iPhone, but is mostly irrelevant with the inclusion of GPS in the iPhone 3G.
Java Location API
Both Verizon and Sprint offer developers the ability to write applications using the Location API in Java. This requires a developer to pay an expensive fee to get their application certified to run on a given handset on their networks. Since they control the terms of these services, they’re not likely to certify a Google application designed to make the information freely available.
Security and Privacy
Sharing the location of a user’s mobile phone is a huge security question. That information is stored on the handset and is not made available to web browsers for this reason. While Google could use Google Maps for Mobile to broadcast your location to any web application that you ‘approve’ and enable location data to be used on the web, it could open users up to any number of potential security threats from someone faking registration or intercepting your location.Similar Stories:
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