With our recent iPhone 3g purchase, it has been awesome to use GPS based iPhone apps that can find your location and suggest things you are looking for around you. The variety of apps that make use of this feature is just mind boggling. I could look up movies, restaurants, stores, etc right from our iPhone without knowing where we are.Plus, it takes the pain out of having to type in our location in a search takes the pain out of searching from a phone.
Mozilla Lab’s Geode
Firefox’s Geode is an experimental add-on from Mozilla Labs that brings the same functionality to your web browser. When you are in a new town, you can just fire up your laptop and go to a website that uses your location data and search for restaurants or or movies etc. Without knowing the exact location you are in, you can find stuff around you.
Native GeoLocation in Firefox 3.1
A new W3C Geolocation Specification adds native ability for websites to request your location and provide results based on where you are. Finding your location could be GPS-based, WiFi-based or manual entry. This should be available atleast in a primitive form in Firefox 3.1 beta releases and alpha releases of Firefox’s mobile version Fennec.
What is Geode?
Geode is just an early sample of this functionality that is coming soon so we can play with this today. Mozilla Labs is looking for feedback on the best set of features to be included as well as addressing privacy concerns that could arise with using location awareness to websites we are visiting.
Geode uses Skyhook’s Loki technology to map Wifi signals in your area to your location. So at the moment, you can try this out of you are on a WiFi. The cool thing about that Wi-Fi based lookup is that is takes just 1 second to get a lock whereas a GPS-based lookup could take upto 45 seconds to establish a lock. And it has an accuracy of within 10-20 metres! That makes a world of a difference when using a location-aware site.
Try Geode now
You can get the experimental add-on Geode here. And you can give it a whirl with a couple of services that use Geolocation already.
- Food Finder – find local eatouts within walking distance
- Pownce – A popular service that can attach location info to your messages, pictures, etc.
- Yahoo! Fire Eagle – A Yahoo’s service that brokers your location between you and any web service that can use it.
As the Mozilla labs article points out, the potential for this feature is just incredible. A RSS reader that displays different feeds based on if you are home or at work. Certain websites that would let you login only from a certain location improving security are a few cited examples.
I use a couple of awesome products from Mozilla Labs like Ubiquity, Prism, etc and love them! Geode looks like another one I will be using as Geolocation based features appear on popular services. What do you think?
[via Mozilla Labs]