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08 October 2008, 17:08

Mozilla previews Geolocation for Firefox

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Future versions of Mozilla's Firefox browser and Fennec mobile browsers will support geolocation services, and as a prelude to this Mozilla Labs has introduced Geode. Geode is a plug-in for current releases of Firefox which allows developers and users to get a preview of the new functionality. The W3C Geolocation API specification that Geode implements is in development at the W3C, and only a portion has been implemented in Geode. The API defines a JavaScript interface to geolocation capabilities which can be embedded in the browser.

Geode is also limited at present to using the Skyhook wireless service, which uses Wifi to locate users, though the W3C Geolocation API allows for services such as GPS and Cell tower triangulation to be used for location. This limitation also means that only Wifi-equipped devices can currently be geolocated. The plan is to expand Geode's capabilities in the future, based on user feedback on functionality and privacy. Mozilla pointed to Pownce and Yahoo Fire Eagle as services which can make use of Geode's geolocations capabilities.

The W3C Geolocation API was recently incorporated into Gears with the Geolocation API currently functional on Windows Mobile devices. Mozilla's move shows the API specification moving into the mainstream for the next generation of browsers.


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