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AOL intros wifi-based location tracker

AOL has introduced a new location based plugin for its Instant Messenger service, AIM.

Like GPS (Global Positioning System), the system allows a user to see where he or she is but instead of GPS, the system uses wifi access points to establish location.

The “Near me” technology has been developed by Skyhook Wireless and allows AIM users to see where their buddies are physically located.

Skyhook, which has backing from Intel, also offers a freely downloadable toolbar with the same functionality. A mobile version is understood to be on the cards.

At present, the Skyhook database covers 16 million US access points, where about 70 per cent of the US population lives and six Canadian markets where the majority of people live.

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