Yahoo's Fire Eagle takes flight for location services

Yahoo on Tuesday announced general availability of Fire Eagle, which enables users to their mark their location on the Web and is being leveraged in applications such as travel and messaging systems.

Yahoo on Tuesday announced general availability of Fire Eagle, which enables users to their mark their location on the Web and is being leveraged in applications such as travel and messaging systems.

Featuring an API, Fire Eagle acts as an interface for managing and sharing location information. Users can authorize Web, mobile, or desktop applications to update location, and they can do it manually on the Fire Eagle Web site or mobile sites.

Fire Eagle enables developers to build geo-aware applications, letting them focus on location without having to build the infrastructure to handle users' locations, Yahoo said. Yahoo has set up the Fire Eagle Developer Center, featuring documentation, support, and code for building location-aware services.

"Fire Eagle is a way for [people] to take their location to the Web," said Tom Coates, head of product at Yahoo Brickhouse, which shepherds startup projects. The software features privacy controls.

"Essentially, Fire Eagle is nothing more, nothing less than a store for a user's location," Coates said.

Users can put in a name of a place and a street address and it updates location, said Coates. "What's more interesting is how it works as a switchboard," for location, he said.

One action includes enabling users to make their make their location available via their mobile phone.

In a beta release since March, more than 50 sites and services have been using Fire Eagle already, Coates said. Some of these companies lauded the service during Tuesday's launch event. .

"[Fire Eagle] solved all the hard problems with location for us," providing a simple API for access to information without having to deal with irrelevant items, said Mike Malone, of Pownce, which provides a service enabling users to keep in touch with friends and share messages and files.

Detailing obstacles Fire Eagle addresses, Pownce provided examples of location configuration difficulties, such as which city named Springfield is relevant, since there are multiple cities with this name.

At Six Apart, the company has integrated the Movable Type blogging software with Fire Eagle. "It makes it easier for bloggers to have correct location information on their blog, within their posts, being able to geo-tag their content," said David Recordon, open platforms technical lead at Six Apart.

Outside.in's Radar application is a personalized local news service that shows what is going on near a user's location. "Obviously, Fire Eagle is crucial to the success of what we're trying to do," said Mark Josephson, CEO of Outside.in.

A blogger and industry analyst at the event later commented on what he sees as the uniqueness of Yahoo's project.

"There are other tools that identify location but none that do it in specifically this way," said Greg Sterling, principal of Sterling Market Intelligence, in an e-mail. "The attention to privacy is noteworthy as is the concept behind Fire Eagle. The challenge will be to build user awareness and adoption in the near term."

Yahoo's Fire Eagle open API also is a differentiator, he said.

Sterling cited Apple's iPhone as also having location capabilities, offering GPS and triangulation to passively identify location. Google's My Location tool also enables location services via triangulation, Sterling said.

While Sterling noted that users may fail to update their location, Coates said Yahoo offers reminders to users.

Although Fire Eagle technology has been accessible free of charge, monetization opportunities could include Yahoo fitting its own ad-driven Web properties with this technology or selling advanced developer tools geared to Fire Eagle, Coates said.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Paul Krill

InfoWorld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?