Locative Lab

researching locative media

My Location now in Google Toolbar


Since its launch in Nov 2007, My Location has helped millions of people know where they are and get better local results on their mobile devices. We thought, wouldn’t it be great if laptop and desktop users could also take advantage of My Location?

Today we’re pleased to announce the launch of Google Toolbar with My Location, part of a new initiative called Toolbar Labs.
Imagine searching for pizza from your computer and seeing the closest pizza places without having to enter your location. No more entering zip codes or city names in your queries — isn’t that magical? Of course, you can already do this with your phone, and searches on the computer can sometimes use an IP address to determine the city that you’re in. But now your location can be determined much more precisely on your computer (as long as you opt in) and you can get better search results.

How does this work? Google Toolbar with My Location uses information about surrounding Wi-Fi access points to estimate your location. Naturally, this means it won’t work if you’re on a computer that doesn’t have Wi-Fi (or has Wi-Fi turned off).
Along with getting more locally relevant Google search results, we also have additional goodies. Entering “maps.google.com” in your browser takes you to Google Maps automatically centered around your current location. You are one step closer to finding what you want. There is also a Google Maps gadget that uses My Location, installed in the Toolbar by default.
We take user privacy very seriously, so we make it easy for you to disable or enable the “My Location” functionality in Toolbar with just the click of a button. If you would like to know more about our privacy policy, please refer to this link.
We are really excited about this launch and hope to hear from you what you think. Let us know!

Google Toolbar with My Location is currently available only for Internet Explorer and works only within the US. You can download it from here.

Written by Venkat Malladi and Tsuwei Chen, Software Engineers, Google Mobile

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About

Cityscape LocativeLab.org is Ronald Lenz's research website on locative & mobile media. This is mostly an archive of blogposts I find inspiring and interesting and an overview of my work. I'm a strategist, technologist and researcher in the field of Location-Based Mobile Services and work at Waag Society, a medialab in Amsterdam, The Netherlands where I head the Locative Media research program and at 7scenes, a platform for GPS games and tours as creative director. Picture 4 Find me at Twitter, LinkedIn or via ronald [at] waag [dot] org.

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