Opera working on W3C standardized geolocation API, partners with Skyhook

Geolocation services are poised to change the way we use the web. With location data in hand, web surfers can interact with websites on a more personal level. And, Opera is looking forward to a future where geolocation data is as assumed part of the browsing experience. To that end, Opera has announced their partnership with Skyhook to integrate geolocation features into its web browsers.

Skyhook, as you may recall, gained popularity as the hybrid geo-positioning system used on the iPhone 3G’s Google Maps application. Skyhook’s technology can determine a user’s position through GPS, WiFi, cell-tower triangulation or any combination thereof. The hybrid geolocation technology allows Skyhook to deliver accurate location data in a fraction of the time it would take for a traditional GPS lock.

Opera has signed on with Skyhook to provide location-data to their Opera browser platform. Skyhook will allow any mobile or desktop Opera browser connected to the web via a WiFi connection to share its location with websites. The new service will allow websites to offer location-specific services, products, promotions and other information to nearby customers. As long as the website takes advantage of Opera’s geolocation API.

Opera is working on a W3C-compliant geolocation API that will allow websites to tap into their Opera browser’s location data. Opera VP of core technology, Lars Erik Bolstad, told IntoMobile that the geolocation “API will be standardized to W3C standards.” The API will allow web developers to tap into the an Opera browser’s location data. Bolstad is heading up the development of the new API as co-chair of the “W3C geolocation work group,” and promises to give web developers a convenient way to communicate with Opera’s integrated Skyhook service.

When finished, the Opera-made geolocation API should give Opera’s mobile and desktop browsers an edge in location-based web surfing. In fact, Opera’s mobile and desktop browsers may just change the way we surf the web.

Find Opera’s Skyhook technology preview at http://labs.opera.com/

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