Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Yahoo’s Fire Eagle, Location Platform

Good news for location based apps. Yahoo announced the general availability of Fire Eagle. Fire eagle is an open platform that can be used for updating location information of users to the web with more privacy controls on who can access the data. I guess the platform approach is a good strategy. By providing an open interface for all location related data, yahoo is positioning itself as the location distributor. It’s like Google’s OpenSocial glue for location information to various applications.

When it was launched initially, lot of folks complained about the privacy issue and it looks like yahoo has taken that feedback seriously. With the general availability, if u sign up for the service, users are given the option to receive regular emails from Yahoo to see if they are still comfortable with sharing this kind of information. In the privacy setting tab, user is given two options

HideMe can temporarily hide yourself from sites and services you've authorized to use Fire Eagle. Fire Eagle will still receive information about your location but won't share it with anyone else until you unhide yourself

You can purge your location information completely from the Fire Eagle database...

Some insight on the platform, Fire Eagle platform provides a way to share location information’s to multiple apps, and an interface to update user location information via multiple apps. It is designed to help users safely share information about their location with sites, services and people on the Internet.
The picture below should give a good insight on the platform

The service has two major functions for users—it allows a user to update their location and then gives them full control of how and where they share that location. A user can perform these functions on the central site, but can also update or access their location data using any other authorized 3rd party application - on the web, on a desktop application or on a mobile device. Applications that access a user's location information can then personalize their service accordingly.

There are already lot of applications that are using fire eagle platform for location sharing and updates. Some of the popular ones using fire eagle are Brightkite, Dash, Dopplr, Movable Type, Pownce, and Loki.

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