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Google Mobile Search Now Knows Where You Are

The revised software provides a slightly better location-based search experience than Google Mobile Search on Apple's first-generation iPhone, the company said.

On Thursday, Google introduced a location-aware search capability called Search with My Location for Windows Mobile devices.

"Previously, when you went to Google.com from your phone's browser and performed a local search, the results were tailored to the last location you entered," explains Google software engineer Phil Genera and Google product manager Joshua Siegel in a blog post. "Now, using the Gears Geolocation API, Search with My Location approximates your actual location using the same Cell ID technology used by Google Maps for mobile."

This provides a slightly better location-based search experience than Google Mobile Search on Apple's first-generation iPhone, which requires the user to first declare a location and then stores that information until the user updates it.

Alternately, Google Mobile users can enter a location with a search term, such as "sushi san francisco," to see location-oriented results, with or without a location-aware device.

Not all Windows Mobile devices support automatic location detection. Google maintains a list of devices that do and don't in its Help Center.

Google says that it has designed Search with My Location to keep location data and personal information separate, so that no association can be made between the two data sets. It says it won't transmit location data until the user explicitly opts in.

As of Wednesday, location-based services became significantly more appealing to those with privacy concerns. The federal court in the Western District of Pennsylvania rejected the U.S. Department of Justice's contention that it could demand stored location data from telecom providers without a warrant.

In so doing, the court affirmed that the Constitution's Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure applies to stored location data.

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