In an update to the development build of Chrome, Google on Thursday introduced a rough version of the native HTML5 geolocation API. Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, Google Chrome dev 5.0.342.1 comes with the geolocation API that Mozilla has supported since it introduced it in last summer's Firefox 3.5.

Geolocation comes to Chrome dev, but needs a tweak to work. (Credit: Screenshot by Seth Rosenblatt/CNET)

However, geolocation in Chrome is turned off by default. To activate it, users must go to their Chrome shortcut and add --enable-geolocation to the end of the target line, under the Shortcut tab. To test if it's working, you can go to If the browser asks for you to approve sending your location data, you know it's working.

I found that on Windows 7, launching Chrome from the taskbar did not allow it to recognize the geolocation activation command. It worked fine, though, when launched from the Start menu.

This update to Chrome dev also includes a few other minor improvements, mostly to the Mac and Linux versions. Along with the geolocation support, users on those platforms should see improved plug-in stability and better implementation of autofill preferences. Mac users only should see favicons in the history menu, and HTML5 databases have been added to the cookie manager. The full list of changes can be read here.