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:
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.