Mozilla Builds Out Geolocation Service as Part of its Mobile Strategy
One of the benefits of having practically everyone in possession of an ever present mobile device is that geolocation data is richer than ever. In fact, there are many new apps and mobile devices focused on geolocation data. Now, Mozilla is getting into the game with its new Mozilla Location Service, an experimental pilot project to provide geolocation lookups based on publicly observable cell tower and WiFi access point information. Mozilla wants to give developers what it claims will be a more privacy-focused service than current alternatives.
According to Mozilla's notice on the new service:
"While many commercial services exist in this space, there’s currently no large public service to provide this crucial part of any mobile ecosystem. Mobile phones with a weak GPS signal and laptops without GPS hardware can use this service to quickly identify their approximate location. Even though the underlying data is based on publicly accessible signals, geolocation data is by its very nature personal and privacy sensitive. Mozilla is committed to improving the privacy aspects for all participants of this service offering."
There are already many mobile apps that rely on crowdsourced geolocation data, and now that Mozilla is more focused on mobile apps than ever, it will probably deliver some of these.
To help build out the service, you can install the dedicated Android MozStumbler and compete against others on a leaderboard or choose to contribute anonymously. Mozilla says the service is evolving rapidly, and you can find out more on the blog of Soledad Penadés.
For still more information follow the links on Mozilla's project page.