Loki 2.0 And The ‘Geo-Web’

In another Where 2.0 related announcement — they just keep coming this morning — Skyhook Wireless has released toolbar/platform Loki 2.0. Loki is kind of like the Firefox of local search. Once downloaded, it determines your location through wifi triangulation and removes the need to enter location when performing a local search.

Here’s the key paragraph from the press release:

One of the key capabilities of Loki 2.0 is a JavaScript API that allows any web developer to location-enable their end user experience by just embedding a few lines of JavaScript into their HTML content. Now anyone with location-based content – brick-and-mortar store finder applications, friend finders, instant messaging platforms, online mapping services and others – can create a richer and more compelling user experience that will drive adoption and increase usage. With the Loki API, any visitor who has pro-actively and explicitly granted opt-in permission to share their location with a Loki-enabled site can automatically get directions to the nearest store, mapped locations of nearby friends, access to pictures, movies and music about their immediate area or any other location-relevant content.

In other words anyone can create geographically specific content or “landing pages” for users where both sides are participating. So, for example, if I’ve got the Loki toolbar installed and turned on, a department store or manufacturer could offer me specific, locally relevant information about deals or where I might buy a particular appliance or product in the real world. Those with multiple locations could tailor their content accordingly.

Given that less than 4 percent of U.S. retail is e-commerce but the Internet drives an increasing amount of local transactions, this location-sensing becomes increasingly important — as people wake up to the connection between online research and offline buying. In addition, local search marketing firm WebVisible found that a majority of users often neglect to enter location modifiers in their queries when performing local searches. Thus “passive” location awareness is very important both for local ad targeting and to provide a better user experience.

Skyhook Wireless CEO Ted Morgan and I spoke about his efforts to have location awareness ultimately “baked” into the browser. If that eventually happens (and it could happen tomorrow with Firefox) local search and local targeting become really interesting and very mainstream.

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Search Engines: Maps & Local Search Engines

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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