hot topic right now, but sadly, Windows 7 doesn't offer an easy to use, built-in platform for detecting a computer's location. Due to this, the number of location-aware and location-enhanced applications for Windows 7 remains extremely low. Thanks to Geosense for Windows, however, which was developed by Rafael Rivera and Long Zheng and released today, it has now become a lot easier for Windows 7 developers to access location data and use it in their apps.Location-based services are definitely a
Windows 7: Location API but No Default Vendor
While Windows 7 offers a built-in location API, Microsoft decided against integrating a default geolocation provider. Due to this, implementing location-aware features on Windows is a lot harder than integrating similar features on OSX or most mobile platforms and this API remains mostly unused. Mac and iPhone developers have long been able to use SkyHook's built-in, system-level services to triangulate a Mac's position based on local WiFi hotspots. Mozilla, too, offers built-in support for Google Location Services in the latest release of Firefox and a few sites are already making good use of this service.
How Geosense for Windows Works
Geosense for Windows was developed on top of the Windows Sensors and Location Platform and uses Google Location Services for WiFi and IP triangulation. Geosense for Windows does not support built-in or external GPS units, but the developers are looking into offering support for other location services like Skyhook and Navizon. The team is also looking at Google's Location Services for cell networks, which can use a computer's built-in wireless broadband hardware to triangulate location data based on the location of nearby cell towers.
Will this Kickstart the Development of Location-Aware Apps for Windows 7?
Only a very small number of programs currently supports location data on Windows 7. Rivera has developed a location-enabled Google Maps client for Windows 7 (you can download it from the Geosense homepage). The Sidebar Weather gadget and MahTweets can also access location data. Hopefully, we will soon see Windows twitter clients and other services (FourSquare for Windows?) that will hook into this service. Hopefully, Geosense for Windows will kickstart the development of native location-aware apps on the Windows platform in the near future.