Yahoo! Inc. has announced the general availability of Fire Eagle, an open platform that helps users take their location to the Web while giving them the ability to easily control how and where their location data is shared.
Fire Eagle gives users a place to store and manage information about their location, and offers developers clear protocols for updating or accessing that information. Because it’s open, any networked service can use Fire Eagle to respond to a user’s location – to help them find their friends, annotate the world or find nearby services or local information.
“Fire Eagle is about making everything on the Internet more useful, fun or interesting by adding the element of location,” said Tom Coates, head of product at Yahoo! Brickhouse. “We’re here to help people take their location to the Web by giving them the ability to control how much detail about their location they want to share and which applications they want to share it with.”
Fire Eagle makes it much easier for both users and developers to create Internet experiences that are geo-aware. For users, Fire Eagle acts as a simple interface for managing location information and deciding how — and with whom — to share it.
Users can authorize Web, mobile or desktop applications to update their location automatically, or they can do it themselves manually on the Fire Eagle Web or mobile sites.
Then they can decide how much of that information to share with their favorite services. At any time they can hide themselves, change their sharing preferences or delete any of their stored information.
For developers, Fire Eagle takes away much of the costly and complicated work of developing geo-aware applications.
Developers can focus on how they can use location in their services without having to build the infrastructure to work out where their users are.
Fire Eagle was built at Yahoo! Brickhouse, a home for start-up like projects inside Yahoo where small teams seize on new ideas and create products around them. Since its private beta launch in March of this year, Fire Eagle has been integrated into over fifty live applications, including Dopplr, Pownce, Movable Type, and Outside.in, through the platform's well-received API.
Services built on Fire Eagle during the private beta period include Brightkite, Dash, Dipity, Dopplr and others.