Late last week Google announced the release of a new Geolocation API for its Google Gears browser extension (our new Gears Geolocation API Profile). According to Google:
The Gears Geolocation API provides a way to get a more precise estimate of a user’s location. On mobile devices with Gears installed, the Geolocation API can use the cell-ID of nearby cell towers or on-board GPS (if either is available) to improve the postion fix. In the near future, we’ll be adding data from your WiFi connection to improve accuracy even further, on both desktop and mobile. In all cases, Gears takes care of assimilating the results from each source and returning the best available position estimate.
Several factors make this new API quite newsworthy:
As with Fire Eagle, user privacy is a significant concern, and Google has addressed this concern by implementing the same security measures as other Google Gears APIs:
The privacy of users’ location information is extremely important. The first time your site calls the Geolocation API to request a user’s location, that user will be shown a permissions dialog where they can choose to allow or deny your site access.
You can check out two mobile applications developed with this API, including Rummble (a place-based social recommendation service) and a restaurant finder for the UK on lastminute.com.