As I mentioned elsewhere, beta 1 of Firefox 3.1 is available.

Please read this description of one of its features:

Another major feature that is included in this release is Mozilla’s new implementation of the W3C Geolocation Specification. It allows web applications to obtain information about the user’s geographical location through a simple JavaScript API. In beta 1, this functionality is built on top of the Loki web service, which is supplied by Skyhook and determines the user’s position by comparing local WiFi access points with information in its global reference database. For privacy reasons, the browser will automatically prompt the user before supplying a web site with geolocation data.

This is just creepy.

I’m probably one of the few who will make this observation but that’s what makes it so much fun (or misery) to read this blog.  The browser will prompt you before giving up your data.

Have you heard the phrase “slippery slope”?

I’m working hard (internally) to come up with a good reason for this `service’ and drawing a rather extended blank.

  • Why would any site have a reason to know where you are?
  • Why would you want any site to know where you are?

Every recently manufactured cell phone comes with an internal GPS, whether or not you want one.  You can be traced by the GPS or cell tower signal difference.  Your carrier will hand it over without so much as a please on the part of [insert generic law enforcement agency].

Now your flippin’ computer can be used to trace you?  This doesn’t sound like a very desirable feature.

In fact, the only benefit would be to advertisers and retail establishments (and the aforementioned law enforcement agency).  Or if you’re surfing from a hot air balloon that’s rapidly losing altitude.

Maybe there is some other benefit that I’m missing.  If you know of one, please let me and everyone else know via the comments.

Am I going to try it?  The jury’s still out on that one.

I know I’m going to get poo-pooed on this but I gotta be me.