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Google Maps Brings My Location to Desktop

Gordon Kelly


Google Maps Brings My Location to Desktop

It's not often that computers chase innovations first brought to smartphones but here we find a very simple, but very welcome catch up...

Google has brought My Location to the desktop edition of Google Maps.

"When you visit Google Maps with a supported web browser, you'll see a new My Location button in the top left corner of the map," said Google Product Manager Steve Block on the company's blog. "Simply click the button to center the map to your approximate location. If your location can be determined accurately enough, it's shown with a blue circle, just like on Google Maps for Mobile. Click the button again to remove the blue circle, or to re-center the map after you've moved it away."

How Google does this has much to do with the reference to 'supported browsers'. Maps take advantage of the W3C Geolocation API standard which enables any website to access your current location. This feature was recently brought to an Internet Explorer toolbar but can now be integrated directly into any browser that supports the new Geolocation API which currently means Google Chrome 2.0+, Mozilla FireFox 3.5+ or any with Google Gears installed.

With no cell towers to triangulate (unless you're using a 3G dongle) the Geolocation API uses mapped WiFi access points and even golden oldie your computer's IP address. Accuracy can vary but in city centres it tends to be extremely precise.

So it's a simple addition but the potential is huge. As smartphone users will attest few things are more convenient than planning a journey by entering your destination and simply attributing the starting positing as your current location. So if you travel a lot with a laptop expect life to now get that bit easier...


Google Blog Post


July 13, 2009, 5:08 am

That's just plain scary...it nailed me to within about 2 feet next to window I sit at! I'm not sure I like that at all. It's Voodoo plain and simple.


July 13, 2009, 6:40 am

Keep getting "Your location could not be determined" Was looking forward to see it work :{


July 13, 2009, 6:43 am

It thinks my location is in Washington, America?! Now I was never any good at geography in school but even I know that Oxford is hundreds, if not thousands of miles away.


July 13, 2009, 6:52 am

Not as accurate for me (understandable, considering I live on the edges of a remote Town) but it nailed me to the County I live in, Lincolnshire. Not quite Voodoo, but still impressive.


July 13, 2009, 10:11 am

deeply disturbing if your willing to give such information to a company with governmental organisations lookin over its own shoulder


July 13, 2009, 1:08 pm

@Pbryanw I feel your pain, i used to live in Lincolnshire :p


July 13, 2009, 1:51 pm

I am pretty satisfied that it could not determine my location.


July 13, 2009, 3:03 pm

Got me down pretty accurately too.

@ ffrankmccaffery - I'm sure if said Government even wanted such information there would be much easier, more reliable sources to get it from than Google.

And I don't know about you guys, but in Chrome it gave me a pop-up asking if I wanted to allow or deny access to information about your location. So, as always, if you don't like it, don't use it.


July 13, 2009, 3:09 pm

I live in a smallish rural town, no hotspots near me and it nailed my location 100% correct!

Pretty freaky but I think its a cool tech :)

Tony Walker

July 14, 2009, 12:07 am

Hmm, has the "Streets" camera car had an aerial on it detecting wi-fi signals as they drive past?

One to ask Google that I think.


July 14, 2009, 12:18 am

@smc8788; not using it doesnt answer my point. many will opt in.


July 14, 2009, 1:20 am

pretty precise for me. put as being across the road from my house.

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