Re: "Microsoft Location Finder" - how is it supposed to work ?

Jeff Liebermann <jeffl@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Seriously, did you think that Microsoft would admit that it was
> snooping on your available connections?

Snooping? You're asking them to look up your location.

> What I'm wondering is if they
> add new SSID's and MAC's to their database every time you use MS
> Location Finder. Digging through the privacy statement at:
> Yep. They collect connection info and add it to their database.

Which SSIDs and MACs? The requestor? Kind of like double-click does with
cookies, but difficult to circumvent?

There is an existing set of databases that tries to guess at your location
by analyzing what people search for when thay are connected to a particular
IP address. The presumption is that the zip codes searched, or provided in
certain online forms, will often be local to the IP address that they are

> Obviously, they're pushing for location based services:

For crying out loud Jeff, what do you think they're doing with it?
That intent is plastered all over the pages. They go to great lengths to
tell you how much better Virtual Earth is than Google Maps, because it
follows you down the road, without you having to figure out where you are
and doing a new zip code based lookup.

> Generally more useful also.

Not at all. If it is accurate, it is only accurate to within tens of
miles. If it is misleading, it's off by thousands of miles, depending on
your choice of ISP.

> Methinks the MS incantation is just a
> front for MS pushing location based services on their web pages.

Somebody has to pay for it. It becomes useful and ubiquitous if everyone
shows up on the local listings, which Google Maps tries to do for free. MS
misses the mark with Streets & Trips, which doesn't include enough
businesses. If you can have everybody listed for free, and allow some of
them to pay with clickthroughs, life is good.

> I tried it in my favorite parking lot, that's within sight of 3 free
> coffee shop hot spots. If I connect to any one of the three. It says
> I'm inside. If I don't connect to any of them, it seems to use the
> last one that I was connected. I didn't seen any fancy geometry.

Some folks suggested geometry, but that might be guessing. Not sure the
extra granularity would be worth the level of sophistication required, if
all you are trying to do is locate nearby retail establishments.

Clarence A Dold - Hidden Valley (Lake County) CA USA 38.8,-122.5