Web 2.0 Expo: Location Apps Come to Laptops, Desktops

Is this the year that location-based applications, already popular among mobile users, migrate to desktops and laptops as well?

Ryan Sarver, director of consumer products at Skyhook Wireless, which operates a Wi-Fi-based positioning system, is betting so. “It feels like 2009 is a huge year for location on laptops,” he told the crowd of techies at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco Wednesday.

In a panel entitled “Adding ‘Where’ to Web Applications,” Sarver aimed to convince the audience that even regular old desktop software can be more useful if it’s geo-aware. Take local search. Today computer-users seeking the closest Starbucks (SBUX) might search for locations near their ZIP code, getting dozens of options. But if they search with a service that can detect their location, they can be instantly presented with the closest few locations they’ll actually consider going to.

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