Fire Eagle for All
In other words, Yahoo’s Fire Eagle, what I like to call a meta-app because it manages many location-enabled apps, is now open to all. BlinkGeo cited a twitter post announcing the news. Otherwise, it’s not yet hit the newswires or the blogosphere. Apparently Greg Sterling from Search Engine Land was there at the Brickhouse when Tom Coates gave the word, but his post is not yet public (I’m guessing he posted it, then pulled it back - I do that now and again…)
I think Fire Eagle is a great thing; though I’m not sure how it’ll make money (if that’s its goal) and if the required critical mass of players (there are more in the gallery than last time I looked) will sign on to support it.
Some updates now that the announcement has made the rounds.
There are the usual “this invades privacy posts/articles”:
Yes, Fire Eagle’s cool. It also freaks me out - where Charles Cooper at C|NET misrepresents the tool “(Fire Eagle’s not an original idea. There’s also Loopt, a cell phone-based service that allows people to track and communicate with friends, as well as Whrrl and Brightkite.)” even though a video below with Rafe Needleman indicates there are no other similar tools at this time. Dan Gilmartin of ULocate pipes in the comments.
Privacy worry over location data - The BBC quotes The Centre for Digital Democracy after the announcement: “while these services will be a powerful force in our lives they are a potential privacy nightmare.” The article goes on to note the deeper issue, that other sites (not Fire Eagle) may store location data: “Some blogs note however that while users can purge information from Fire Eagle, this will not delete location data collected over time by authorised sites.” Fire Eagle makes it policy quite clear.
Privacy Advocates Are Not Pleased With Yahoo Fire Eagle - dbTechno alleges that headline, but cites no one in particular.
I personally think most people don’t understand that Fire Eagle alone does nothing. To use it, you need to hook up apps that determine your location (like those on your phone/laptop/etc. - and pay attention to how they use your location data) and then to apps that you want to use your location data (like for finding local restaurants, etc. - and pay attention to how they use your location data). Yahoo sits in between and brokers the information. I think it’s a great way to manage location information and privacy as you can turn off or fuzz up data from the collection side before its passed on the use the data side.
With the open release several more applications have been added to the Gallery, which now you need a Fire Eagle login to access. Some of the new ones: SPOT (the messenger for when you need help), Dash (so you can update Fire Eagle from your in car GPS), BrightKite (so you can provide your location from Fire Eagle to use in that social network).