Until now it was almost impossible to get the GeoLocation of a user browsing your site. You could try to use several services to more or less guess the current position. Most of the time they where using the IP address to tackle the problem. This was not very reliable when it came to mobile devices.
Ever since the iPhone hit the market mobile adoption of the web grew exponentially. Google threw in Android and I’m sure some Windows Mobile phones do have GPS as well. According to some talks at re:publica 09 the big telco carriers such as T-Mobile and Vodafone see their future in the mobile (geolocation aware) web.
Even though these devices had the capabilities to get the current location, website developers are still facing the problem that they can not access the positioning hardware of the phone. There was almost no way for (mobile) web developers to get the location of the user. There are some solution out there but you needed to install extra software which is not always possible on a phone.
To access this information all you need to do is:
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Once this feature is widely available in mobile browsers (I do hope for this summer) my bet is that we will see a whole bunch of websites doing all sort of crazy things with these information. I’m a big Location Based Services (LBS) fan and I can’t wait to see people taking advantage of this.
Update Firefox 3.5.x uses Google’s Geolocation service if no other way can be used. This is halfway accurate. It gathers information about nearby wireless access points and your computer’s IP address. No more plugin needed.