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Skyhook Plug-In Improves Cell Phone Location Accuracy

The Loki software integrates with MapQuest, Flickr, and WeatherBug and triangulates signals from GPS, cell phone towers, and particularly from millions of Wi-Fi access points.
Location, location, location may be the mantra of real estate hunters everywhere, but it's also getting a lot of use from mobile phone providers and users.

Skyhook Wireless reported Thursday that its Loki plug-in for Web developers has been integrated in three popular Web applications -- MapQuest, Flickr, and WeatherBug.

Powered by Skyhook's Wi-Fi Positioning System, the Loki plug-in works with major Web browsers and operating systems in determining the precise location of any Wi-Fi-enabled device as long as the user permits it. Skyhook triangulates signals from GPS, cell phone towers, and, particularly from millions of Wi-Fi access points to deliver precise locations.

"Loki integration shows how location can be added to the browser to help people very easily access useful local info like driving directions," said Kate Imbach, Skyhook's director of marketing, in an e-mail, referring to MapQuest's use of Loki. MapQuest's Christian Dwyer added that drivers using MapQuest can simply type in to obtain quick access to driving directions.

Skyhook said the Loki plug-in can be seamlessly added to any Web site with a few lines of JavaScript. Once added, the plug-ins streams location to consumers instantly, no page refresh or browser restart needed.

Once an exact location is provided, geo-tagged items can be easily located. For instance, with Flickr, geo-tagged photos near a consumer's location can be easily accessed. WeatherBug users can obtain more precise weather forecasts.

The phenomenon of location-aware apps has exploded in recent months and weeks. Skyhook, which maintains a database of more than 100 million Wi-Fi access points, reported this week that Apple's iPhone App Store alone has more than 2,300 location-based applications. The applications range far and wide, covering everything from social networking to navigation help.

Glympse, another company using Skyhook technology, this week launched its personal location service on T-Mobile G1 phones. The free service calls for users to download software, then establish location links with other phones to track users' changing locations.

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