Posts Tagged ‘google gears’

BBC Open Air: Being a location-aware news organization

Posted in Apps, Geospatial Technology, Mobile on August 27th, 2009 by Justin – Comments

The BBC news organization is known to be innovative, and its latest initiative, BBC Open Air, is no exception.  Put together by the BBC Learning Innovations group, BBC Open Air is an experimental website that utilizes Google Gears to find a mobile phone’s location, and then uses the location metadata to return results from Breathing Places and BBC Weather.  If you’re not familiar with Breathing Places, it’s a BBC campaign focused on ways to get closer to nature.

Essentially, BBC Open Air will return local weather information and the nearest outdoor points of interest related to nature once it figures out your location.  Currently, only Google Android-based phones and some newer Windows Mobile models support Google Gears, but the Learning Innovations group is working on extending support.  Gears is supported by the Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer internet browsers as well, but only in the form of a third-party plugin.  This means you can use Open Air on a laptop or netbook if you install Gears into the mentioned supported browsers.

For the time being, Open Air is just a test site and likely has a few bugs. But the Learning Innovations group is taking user feedback and using it to tweak and extend the service.  I’m looking forward to seeing this experiment grow, and I hope other content producers begin to utilize location metadata in new and innovative ways as well.

New: Add your location to Gmail messages

Posted in Geospatial Technology on February 11th, 2009 by Justin – Comments

Now I just know there will be a privacy advocate out there that says something about this, but a new Gmail Labs feature allows you to add your location to your email signature.  Yep, in your Gmail account just add Location in Signature in the Labs tab under Settings, then head to your signature preference and check “Append your location to the signature.”

Underneath your signature you’ll see the city, region, and country you’re in when you send the email.  For the time being the experimental feature uses IP address to detect location so accuracy might be an issue, but if you install Google Gears, its location module can find your location from Wi-Fi access points-much more accurate.

As you can see, this is a obvious opt-in process that allows you to delete your location from any email you choose, and the location signature does not show your exact location.  Hopefully these means we don’t see any disruption from privacy groups in the blogosphere tomorrow-oh please.

I’m not exactly sure why this hasn’t been implemented into Google’s location-aware Latitude social application, but should the uptake in Gmail be encouraging I’m sure will see it implemented at some point.

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Google Gears Geolocation API: Improve Your Mobile Apps With An Instant Location Fix

Posted in Apps on August 22nd, 2008 by Justin – Comments

Just a few months before Google is expected to release their Android mobile operating system, the company has released the Google Gears Geolocation API.  The Geolocation API is used on both mobile and desktop browsers, enabling the information displayed to be contextual relevant to a user’s location.

Two UK mobile startups, lastminute and Rummble, have already released applications utilizing the API.  lastminute uses the API to update your location and find restaurants in your vicinity without requiring you to type in your location, while Rummble uses the API in the same way to find your location and show you recommended hotspots near you.

Interestingly, the Geolocation API only works with Windows Mobile devices, but we’re sure this’ll change when Android finally makes an appearance.  My guess is that Google chose Windows Mobile because of the sheer number of devices using the operating system, but I still find it strange that they’d release such a useful API to a competing operating platform just before Android’s launch.

The API can use GPS to find your location if your Windows Mobile device is equipped, or cell tower triangulation if need be.  If it’s being used on a laptop or PC, the API will use your IP address instead.

Google’s Location API Will Include Cell Tower Locations And Wi-Fi Hotspots

Posted in Apps on June 1st, 2008 by Justin – Comments

Google’s taking its Location API a step further than GPS over at Google Gears, apparently working at acquiring location info for cell phone towers and wireless hotspots in order to help mobile app developers be able to more accurately pinpoint users’ location.  GPS signals aren’t always the most accurate indoors or in places with alot of interference such as under bridges or in the middle of a downtown location surrounding by highrises.  With other types of data added to the location API, developers will be able to track an accurate location no matter where an application user is located.  For those of you who are driving around looking for a Wi-fi hotspot, save some time by tapping into the Location API and finding all the spots closest to you.  I’ve headed over to the Location API page and its doesn’t look like this project is very far along; I couldn’t actually find any info, but apparently it should be freely accessible in the future.

via dslreports