Last Updated Jan 29, 2010 11:14 AM EST
The application, which looks at all forms of wireless, including cellular carrier networks, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, discusses estimating the locations of wireless access points (whether a Wi-Fi hot spot or a cellular tower), determining the accuracy of the locations, and then deducing the user's position based on these, for the purpose of location-based services.
In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a computer-implemented method of estimating the location of a wireless device is provided. The method comprises obtaining a packet of data transmitted from a first wireless device to a second wireless device; determining whether one of the first and second wireless devices is a wireless access point; determining the data rate of the transmitted data packet; if one of the first and second wireless devices is the wireless access point, then evaluating the determined data rate against a predetermined criterion; and assigning an estimated location to the wireless access point based upon the evaluation.Google would be able to use packet information and network analytic methods to determine much of this. The trick would be to capture packets from the wireless devices. That becomes much easier if it's providing location-based services, meaning that consumers would be providing the packets by using the services. Or Google could presumably provide location information as a service to its advertising or marketing partners, which could provide the packets for analysis. This seems to be part of a bigger pattern in which Google clearly wants to operate at a level above the carriers, ending their roles as information gatekeepers and turning them into simple traffic operators.