Google (NSDQ: GOOG) announced today that it is providing a service to help developers add location to mobile applications and Web sites. Called Gears Geolocation API, it allows users to pull up more relevant information based on their location. As part of the launch, two sites in Europe tested it out. One is lastminute.com, which is a site for travelers looking to find a nearby restaurant from their phone (which can be handy if you don’t know where you are). The other is Rummble, a social discovery site which recommends places to visit (that are near you).
The free API locates you based on your nearest cell tower, a GPS signal, or in the instance of your PC, your computer’s IP address. It works on some Windows Mobile devices, and on Internet Explorer and Firefox online. This announcement comes on the heals of the release of Yahoo’s Fire Eagle, another location-based service for mobile and PCs. The two won’t necessarily compete since Fire Eagle helps manage location information that may be coming in from a variety of sources. I can see how these two moves will not only make it easier and cheaper for developers to add location information to sites, but how it can increase a site’s traffic because it’s more useful.