Google Brings Location-Awareness to Email

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Google appears to have a new obsession with knowing and broadcasting your current location. A week after announcing Latitude, which shares your location with friends on Google Maps and threatens to render several startups irrelevant, an engineer has developed location-aware email signatures for Gmail.

After turning on the “Location in Signature” feature in Gmail Labs, you’ll see a new checkbox in the Signature area of your settings that says “Append your location to the signature.” Once the box is checked, all of your subsequent emails will end with something like “Sent from: San Francisco, California”.

By default, Gmail determines your location by looking up the geographical data associated with your public IP address. Since this isn’t always very accurate, Google encourages you to install its Google Gears browser extension software, which can more accurately identify your location using WiFi.

This project doesn’t appear to be related to Google Latitude, at least from a programmatic point of view. But expect Google to release a variety of “hooks” into the Latitude platform throughout its products, since it’ll be most useful as a platform not a standalone application.

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