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I'm quite impressed by the Google Gears geolocation demo. It usually has an accuracy under 50 meters and besides authorizing Google Gears, I haven't revealed any other information concerning my location. What technologies are used to achieve such accuracy?

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The Gears API page describes how it works.

The Geolocation API provides the best estimate of the user's position using a number of sources (called location providers). These providers may be onboard (GPS for example) or server-based (a network location provider). The getCurrentPosition and watchPosition methods support an optional parameter of type PositionOptions which lets you specify which location providers to use.

To find out how to implement your own network location provider for use with the Geolocation API, see the description of the Geolocation API network protocol that Gears uses to communicate with network location providers.

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+1 You my friend, are correct! – Ivo Flipse Sep 24 '09 at 6:00
up vote 2 down vote accepted

When the StreetView car passed by in my neighborhood, it logged all the access points and their nearest location using the car's GPS. Using the API, it correlates my location with the APs I can see with my Wi-Fi adapter.

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Devices with both GPS, Wifi and GSM (like iphone) is used to enrich google's database. The GPS and GSM gives us an accurate position, and then the Wifi can do a quick scan, and return a list of wifi networks to google. Thereby, the database is automatically maintained by regular users...

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I think that it locks to MAC addresses. For example, Google StreetView is not available in all countries, yet in my country it still points to my exact location. I even wrote something about it a while ago in a blog.

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It does not use MAC addresses; it simply uses the IP. – Synetech Dec 1 '12 at 0:09

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