Update: Geode Location Determination Coming to Firefox

Updates 10/15/08:

The beta of Firefox 3.1 is available with the geolocation API “baked in.” Details of the implementation and how to test it are in this intro to the beta blog post. Location determination options in the 3.1 beta include manual and via serially connected GPS device.

The W3C geolocation spec that’s implemented in FireFox Geode and this beta has been updated, or at least the date has been changed from Sept 15 draft. It now has an Oct 15 date.

Aza Raskin penned a follow up to the original Mozilla Labs post on Geode that addresses some confusion. It really helps.

——update 10/8/08———

Update 10/8/08: Geode (blog post from Mozilla labs, download) built on Skyhook’s Wi-Fi-based solution. I guess the real question is where should such a tool sit? In the operating system? As an app running on the operating system? As an add-on to the browser (as this is)? It feels like we are still determining where in the “stack” the LPS (location positioning system) should fit. I do like that it follows the W3C spec; specs are good. Still, there are those like Brian Kraemer at ChannelWeb that feel location is still a hard sell, no matter where in the stack it lives: “Mozilla Labs’ initiative with Geode is admirable, but getting users to embrace location mapping or location awareness still seems a few years out at the earliest, because, right now, there’s no compelling reason to share location information.”

In an e-mail Tuesday (after the launch) from a PR person on the campaign I learned how Mozilla is positioning the offering: “Geode presents developers with an open mobile platform alternative to Google Chrome and Gears.”

—- original post 10/07 9 am EDT———-

Reader Kevin pointed me to this Webware article that teases about a new add-on for Firefox called Geode expected today. ReadWriteWeb describes it as ” “a Firefox add-on that understands location, enabling enriched, personalized, and localized content” and VentureBeat explains it’s a location determination tool, built on the W3C spec, upon which developers can build. Exactly how it determines location is not clear, though its likely IP location, wi-fi, cell tower - the same thing other platforms offer. Such tools are becoming common so such announcements seem less and less important. My sense is that if you want your device to be location aware, you can probably find software, often free, to determine it. Whether that location will be available to your other apps seems to be the sticking point. That in turn points to Yahoo’s Fire Eagle, which VentureBeat suggests is a great manager for Geode’s location information.

Published Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Written by Adena Schutzberg

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