Google is looking at ways to protect privacy

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2008-03-05 Print this article Print

Moreover, the Geolocation API is an abstraction for various location APIs that currently exist on mobile platforms, like GPS-based or network/cellid-based APIs, the Google Location API page said. And geolocation implementations could be straightforward mappings to native APIs such as the Nokia S60 Location Acquisition API) or have a more complex design that combines several location providers and returns the location from the most accurate provider at any given time, the Google documentation said.

The Location API must also be able to support users' privacy and Google is looking at various ways to do that. The company is also looking at an alternative API such that, instead of the Geolocation API described above, Gears could expose only the underlying location signals, according to the Google documentation.

Moreover, the company is working on a location provider protocol, because many devices do not have native access to GPS or other location data. Additionally, according to the Google Code page, "GPS can take a long time to get an accurate location fix, drains battery, and does not work indoors. Because of these problems, the location API also has the ability to send various signals that the devices have access to (nearby cell sites, wifi nodes, etc) to a third-party location service provider, who can resolve the signals into a location estimate."

The protocol between the device and the location service provider is HTTP POST. The request and response are both formatted as JSON (JavaScript Object Notation).

Although Google has not said that the Location API will in fact appear in Gears, sources close to the company indicated that it very likely will.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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