…Google has officially posted the inner details of the My Location API, explaining the fact that they rely on Cell ID (and not triangulation) and crowdsourcing from GMM users with GPS-enabled phones (and not contracts with operators). Well, dear readers, you knew it all along (sorry, couldn’t resist).

Despite the (IMO) suggestive title of the blog post (“Google enables Location-aware Applications for 3rd Party Developers“) and a few words on the Google Gears Mobile and Android Location APIs, I just don’t see how 3rd party app developers can make use of Google’s cell ID data right now. Come on, where’s the usual, plain & simple Google-style HTTP API for querying cell ID locations? Thank god there’s OpenCellID đŸ˜‰

7 Responses to “Finally…”

  1. The only issue is that you can not officially exploit the hidden google map cellid api. I think also that opening the Google API will generate some issue with operators….

  2. I agree. It’s probably not the best thing to exploit their ‘internal’ API. On the other hand… it’s a start đŸ˜‰ (After all, that’s how the original Google Maps API got started.)

    With regard to the operator issues: Yes, I agree there, too. In fact I assume that Google themselves are acting in some sort of legal grey area already. I don’t know if anyone ever got sued by an operator for sniffing out their Cell IDs and building a DIY location based service. But I wouldn’t be surprised.

    Anyways, the fact that Google is doing it now may IMHO be precedent-setting. And personally I think that’s also good news for public efforts like OpenCellID.

  3. Kael: thanks for the link to CellDB! Didn’t know about that project yet.

    Would be nice though if they had some sort of map/KML with all their mapped cells. That would give us a better picture on the actual coverage they have.

  4. 5 Matthias

    There have been attempts to unofficially use Google’s cell database.

  5. 6 Isambard

    My location also shows correctly on iPaq when connected to wireless network NO GPS

    NO connection to any cell phone system, how does it do it



  6. Hi Isam,

    if you don’t have GPS and are not connected to a GSM/UMTS network, it may still be possible for Google Maps to derive your location from your IP address: As soon as you connect to the Internet (e.g. via WLAN) your device gets an IP assigned. And it’s usually possible to associate that IP with the region, city or at least the country where that WLAN hotspot is located.


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