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Microsoft Finds Navizon for Geolocation Tasks


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March 02, 2010

Microsoft Finds Navizon for Geolocation Tasks

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Geo-positioning startup Navizon was tapped by Microsoft (News - Alert) to power geolocate – is that a word yet? – for mobile users. 

In a statement Navizon officials say they've signed a licensing agreement with Microsoft four use of Navizon’s global location database for its mobile technologies.

Industry observer Leena Rao reports that Navizon, formerly Mexens Technology, “crowdsources GPS positioning with its community of more than 1 million registered users from all over world.”

How it works, she says, Navizon’s users “build a dynamic database of Wi-Fi access points and GSM, CDMA and 3G towers. Navizon’s software triangulates signals broadcast from Wi-Fi access points and cellular towers” to determine geolocation.

“This agreement with Microsoft validates the power of Navizon's crowd-sourcing technology,” said Cyril Houri, founder and CEO of Navizon. “We are excited to see Microsoft join our fast-growing list of customers who have chosen Navizon for geo-positioning.”

Yahoo uses Navizonto handle the geo-location for Yahoo Mobile. “Microsoft just launched a new version of its Windows Mobile operating system a few weeks ago but it's unclear exactly how Navizon’s technology will be incorporated into Microsoft’s mobile offerings,” Rao says, noting that Skyhook Wireless is Apple's (News - Alert) go-to for iPhone geolocation.

A couple weeks ago The Australian reported that Navizon “has found a way to overcome the drain on battery life by not requiring the GPS to be continually active. When you lose your iPhone (News - Alert), you send an SMS with a passphrase to your phone and it returns its position to you.”

Navizon doesn't offer alerts and messages, The Aussie noted, “but then if the battery isn't dead, you're ahead.”

Do such location services work? The Kansas City Star recently reported that a Wisconsin man's iPhone “was stolen from his unlocked car during a church service, but he was able to lead police directly to the thief's house because he subscribes to a service that tracks the phone's location via GPS.”

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Kelly McGuire

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