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Opera Taps Skyhook for Location Awareness

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Opera Software today said it has a deal with location data provider Skyhook Wireless to bring geolocation to its browser. Users can choose to share their location with any web site and get information about related products and services in their vicinity. Web site developers use a newly launched API to build location awareness into their sites. Opera’s singing a familiar tune with this deal as Mozilla has a similar pact with Skyhook and Yahoo (s YHOO) is doing the same thing with its Fire Eagle efforts.

14 Responses to “Opera Taps Skyhook for Location Awareness”

  1. Aaron deMello

    Stacey – FireEagle is a system for selectively sharing your location with third party apps. It really puts the control over location privacy in the user’s hands.

    Skyhook has some of that but is primarily a location determination method. Either purely from WiFi or via a hybrid method (GPS, WiFi, and cell tower data), Skyhook actually determines the location of your device.

    FireEagle doesn’t do that.

    • the business model is wrong – there is no audit loop – businesses are not participating in a transaction – 3 dynamics this business missed

      – people want privacy,context, deals
      – businesses (restaurants for instance) want asses in seats, and would like to learn about their customers
      – marketers want referall fees and metrics.

      skyhook does none of these things well.

      • Aaron deMello

        Skyhook began as a location determination technology; what’s your describing is like an AdSense for the real world. Maybe Skyhook will do it, maybe Google will get there first, maybe AdMob will come to their sense and try it too. I founded a company called Profilium in 1999 whose goal it was to do both the location determination and provide the platform for what you describe; let me tell you, its not easy getting the ecosystem in place to make money on location based services. We switched our model to infrastructure and did OK, but the holy grail as you describe it eluded us, and everyone else so far.

    • Stacey Higginbotham

      Opera allows users to selectively share their location and uses Skyhook to get that location. But maybe I should clarify that Fire Eagle is about bringing location to the browser, which is what I meant but phrased so vaguely.

    • What do you mean “not accurate enough”?

      And why would this just be about marketing? This allows you to let sites know where you are so that you can, say, find relevant search results for the area around you. Need to catch the bus? Let the site tell you the nearest bus.

      And so on.

  2. I hope this doesn’t turn into a default revenue opportunity for the handset makers/carriers. Putting on my tinfoil hat, I can already imagine how this would go down. A default setting whereby all pages you visit from “participating websites” receive your geo location info for more targeted advertising. Great.

    • Aaron deMello

      Ryan – why not? I’d rather have LESS highly targeted ads than MORE of the garbage we see today. Its so rare that I actually want to click on an ad, maybe it happens twice a month MAX.

      • Do you think you’ll get less ads because they are more targeted? I don’t think so. Websites will put as many ads as they can without subtracting from the user experience, whether they are targeted or not.

        Of course, the advertising networks will be the beneficiaries of this info. In addition to the phone company being able to track your location, miscellaneous web advertising companies will as well. In fact, they could probably identify where you live and work. In the end, its another footprint that you leave with entities that are much less mature (controlled) than the likes of the wireless companies.