I’ve always had a keen interest in Skyhook Wireless. The company has been building a massive database of location information since its founding over 7 years ago. Dubbed “XPS,” its location gathering technology combines GPS, cell tower triangulation and Wi-Fi positioning to create the “first true hybrid positioning system.”
With location being the hottest topic at the moment in the mobile realm, Skyhook’s technology has never been more relevant. To put its hat into the ring, the company today announced the launch of SpotRank, a firehose of sorts to allow developers to tap into its wealth of location information.
SpotRank data is based around hundreds of millions of anonymous location lookups processed daily through Skyhook’s core hybrid positioning system. Since Skyhook has been used on numerous devices around the world (including every iPhone) for location-based services, the platform powers positioning requests on tens of millions of devices and applications around the world. Skyhook continually mines this data to create detailed behavioral intelligence profiles for over half a billion 100 meter “spots” around the world.
While companies like Gowalla and Foursquare rely on “check-ins” to accrue location-data, Skyhook’s system works far different in that it logs data everytime a device needs location for anything, creating a valuable resource for developers never before available until the launch of SpotRank.
In fact, Gowalla has already expressed interest in utilizing SpotRank to supplement its location data. “We’re looking forward to diving into the SpotRank data from Skyhook,” said Josh Williams, CEO of Gowalla. “We believe this will provide us with a remarkable new way to let the Gowalla community know the hottest places nearby, at that very moment in time, as well as in the near future. It’s an exciting technology and we believe it will enable us to serve up very interesting forms of local content.”
Numerous other location startups have already expressed interest in the new firehose, so expect some pretty interesting integrations in the near future. Skyhook is even showcasing SpotRank with real time location data from this week’s SXSW festival in Austin and other spots around the world.