Welcome Geode

Today Mozilla Labs announced Geode. Mozilla plans to add it in a future version of Firefox but today it’s already available as an add-on. It adds the ability for a website to request your location. You can than optionally choose to send your exact location, neighborhood or city to that site.

Geode screenshot

I have been waiting for this to come out, especially after Aza Raskin’s conceptual post. The interface is intuitive (although I preferred Aza’s somewhat more graphical version).

I tried the plugin on the Geode sample page and it does what it should do. Well - that's to say - it showed my location exactly as promised, the same way my iPhone does. Geode probably uses the Skyhook database (like the iPhone) to determine the location based on the Wi-Fi access points it can ‘see’. This is a bit of a problem as the Skyhook coverage in Europe is bad and as such not very useful (yet). Skyhook is extending its coverage in Europe and Mozilla is looking for other providers as well so it may get better over time.

We’re still working out the specifics, but we’re hoping that location will be provided by one or more user selectable service providers and methods, e.g. GPS-based, WiFi-based, manual entry, etc.

Why would you need this? Mozilla gives the same old example of finding a restaurant near your location by ‘pulling out you laptop’. I don’t think people ‘pull’ out their laptops that easily (that’s up the the iPhones and BlackBerrys) but I can see the movie theatre showing the schedule for the nearest complex at the top of the list or Google giving a higher score to search results nearby. I suppose we’ll even see location aware ads with the promotions of the closest supermarket.

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