You may have noticed a number of changes to the way Google are operating lately. One of the biggest changes has been towards deeper and more focused location integration in the Chrome browser, the Chrome OS, and throughout the Chromium projects on which they are based.
Chromium and Chromium OS are the two open-source projects that are behind the Google Chrome browser and OS, and they are often used as a platform for Google to experiment with new ideas and code. One of the latest experimental features is an option called “Experimental location features”, which allows the Chrome browser to run “experimental extensions to the geolocation feature.”
There is a wider trend throughout the Internet for more focused localisation services, as a way both to improve the user experience and make more money for advertisers along the way – or is that the other way round. This new feature “Includes using operating system location APIs (where available), and sending additional local network configuration data to the Google location service to provide higher accuracy positioning.”
Google are certainly not alone in their collection of location based user data for advertising purposes. While companies like Skyhook Wireless and Localeze specialise in collecting this sort of specific location-based information, increasingly the big names like Google, Facebook, and Apple are deciding to buckle down and write the code themselves.
Google already have 9 million active users of their Latitude location service, Google maps included on all Android and Apple! phones, and most of the online population using their search engine. It is no surprise then that Google already have access to a large enough user pool to continue experimenting with tighter and deeper localisation-based advertising and search integration.
Just how deep will the rabbit hole go you ask. Well – some commentators are already talking about “Contextual discovery”, where users get results without searching. Tech-enhanced brainwashing driven by advertising dollars OR the evolution of more advanced search tools to assist human users. Hmm – maybe both.