Skyhook Wireless Working to Make More Mobile Apps Location-Aware

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bird, insect, mammal, reptile, fish, and plant species. Users of the apps can already log sightings by location, but a forthcoming version of the app will also show them what species nearby users have spotted. “These features will help Audubon Guides accomplish its ultimate goal, which is to promote the appreciation of the nature around us, by encouraging our app users to share their experiences with others,” Green Mountain Digital CEO David Roberts said in a press statement.

Drync, a Cambridge, MA, startup whose iPhone apps help wine drinkers research their purchases, is also using Local Faves to build location-aware versions of its free and premium applications. The added features, due in April, will let users record and share where they bought or drank a particular bottle of wine, and search on a map to see who’s drinking what and where. “We’ve always envisioned adding social features and geolocation—to enable users to see where their friends are dining, for example—and Skyhook just did a bunch of this work for us and handed it over, which is great,” says Brad Rosen, Drync’s founder and CEO. “Could we have gone and built it? Absolutely, but realistically it would have taken us six person-months.”

So what’s in it for Skyhook, which—after all—makes most of its money licensing XPS, its hybrid positioning software for the iPhone 3G and 3GS? For extremely heavy users of Local Faves, the company will earn a licensing fee—-but that doesn’t kick in until the users of a company’s apps tap the location features more than 100,000 times per month. The software tools are really about getting developers and consumers to make more frequent use of location information.

“Everyone understands at this point that location makes a lot of sense for social networking and navigation, but it has a lot more use cases,” says Imbach. “The more location is used beyond how we currently understand it, the more exciting stuff we can do with it, and the more Skyhook can be at the center of it.”

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Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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