Geo-location & Google Mobile Project

Due to the nature of mobile, location is very important for mobile searches. The potential to use knowledge about customer location, and what they are doing can make marketing and services more useful and tailored to consumer’s needs and behaviours.

Mobile location is identified through location based systems which are network based or handset based or both.  Global Positioning System (GPS) technology (handset based) is one of the most common and accurate technology.

Mobile phones with GPS capability can have their location traced by the user of the phone and the network to which the cell phone is connected. However, usually only applications have access to GPS information and require users to allow the app to use GPS info – user needs to be prompted to allow the app to use the GPS to have their location traced.

How can a website identify location without using applications?

Google Project

I found this Google Geo-location project aimed to provide a usable geo location framework for mobile websites/widget applications through a simple JavaScriptAPI that is aligned to the W3 Geolocation API Specification.

The framework includes two methods:

  • Determine if the handset has client side geo-location capability
  • Retrieve the location after user permission

This will be beneficial for a site that provides location based services (e.g. coupons site) as it can first determine if the client has geo-location capabilities and ask for location. If there are no geo-location capabilities or if these are disabled, the site will refer to a manual location input system to identify latitude and longitude coordinates. The JS code is shown as follows:

The supported platforms include iPhone OS 3.x and OS4, browsers with Google Gears support (Android, Windows Mobile), Blackberry Devices (8820, 9000,…) , Nokia Web Run-Time (Nokia N97,…), webOS Application Platform (Palm Pre), Torch Mobile Iris Browser, Mozilla Geode.

This could be very useful for Australian mobile sites owners to target information based on geo-locations. This might also facilitate tracking users’ locations. In fact while data is collected by carriers, these are not revealed to mobile sites owners. Users’ location data are not shared, only information about handsets types, but still these are not completely accurate.

Search traffic however is a different story. Thanks to Google Analytics you can track mobile visitors, by device, location and so on (although it is worth noting that because many mobile devices do not run JavaScript the estimations on Google Analytics are far lower than real life):

Google allows also implementing Google analytics in your apps.

Mobile geo-location is now a hot topic. Mobile SEO will probably rely more heavily on Geo-Location as compared to normal SEO. This together with other new elements such as device type, screen resolution, content type are all new factors that were never an issue before and that brings Mobile SEO to a new level. It will be interesting to see how Search Engines will weigh these new elements within the mobile ranking algorithm.

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Comments (4)
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4 Replies to “Geo-location & Google Mobile Project”

I think you are right that mobile SEO will rely far more heavily on geo than desktop SEO. But the location itself (of the user) is not too valuable. It’s a commodity really. What is really powerful is understanding the geo-context of that person’s location: what neighborhood are they in? did they leave a city boundary? have they cross into a school attendance zone? etc. That’s where the geo becomes powerful and can then be integrated with SEO (e.g. optimizing search terms based on neighborhood names).

Are you really sure that mobile site can’t access to GPS ?

Because I believe with HTML5 and modern mobile navigators, there is now a native support.


Yup, it’s possible and quite simple, just a bit of js code, it will return the lat, long from your current position.
Browse google homepage from a Html 5 mobile brows
er and it will display your current location. it will ask for confirmation first.
You can find a good example in


HTML5 with JavaScript will allow you to access the GPS via its navigator API’s. Only Android and Iphone would support this for the time being.


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