Fifteen years or so, in the immediate aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the growing rapprochement between the erstwhile enemies, you could buy T-shirts in Washington, DC that displayed the emblems of the CIA and the KGB side by side, with an inscription underneath which read: "Now we are everywhere." I had a similar Big Brother moment when SiRF Technology Holdings announced that it was partnering with Skyhook Wireless to create a single positioning system for wireless carriers that combines both GPS and WiFi technologies. The new system is called the WiFi Positioning System (WPS). WPS is an integral part of SiRF's Multimode Location Platform, a solution aiming to hasten the adoption of location-based services (and you were worried about Google and SF WiFi).
SiRF says that the technology will be applied to special client software from SiRF for mobile handsets which combine GPS and WiFi measurements as well as to SiRF's SiRFLoc Server to enable it to establish precise positioning from these measurements.
They say that the new technology will allow carriers to "enhance their revenues by offering enhanced location-based services" (read: advertising). "This is the first time a single positioning system has combined both GPS and WiFi location data to get us a step closer to achieving 100 percent availability of accurate positioning," says Kanwar Chadha, co-founder and vice president of marketing for SiRF.
SiRF will offer the technology to mobile handset makers using SiRF's SiRFstarIII and GSCi-5000 chips sets, as well as to wireless carriers using its SiRFLoc Server. Skyhook has been in the metro location-based WiFi for a while, offering WiFi-based (rather than satellite- or cell tower-based) location data.