Thursday, August 14, 2008

Yahoo Opens Up Fire Eagle to Public

Yahoo Fire EagleIn March 2008, Yahoo opened the beta version of Fire Eagle, its location-based middleware that allows developers to build services tailored to the user's geographic area. Fire Eagle is now open to the public with 22 launch partners providing their services. Yahoo tries to target the large market of social networking, but as with any other plethora of apps and widgets, Fire Eagle comes with its own sets of perks and problems! But for those inspiring to make some money out of writing cool applications, this could be your newest gig, after the Apple iPhone apps!

Fire Eagle begins by asking users for location data, which can be entered as vaguely as the country or as specifically as the global coordinates. From that point, Fire Eagle's job is done as far as the user is concerned, most of a user's interaction will take place through applications built upon the service.

There are applications available now for a variety of devices and operating systems, though most are not cross-platform. The gallery currently includes location-based social networking applications from Brightkite, Plazes, Loki, and Zkout; travel mapping apps from Dopplr, Map My Tracks, eKit, and Navizon; point-of-interest and event listings from Lightpole, Outalot, and Wikinear; location-based search from Rummble; messaging from Spot and Pownce; and news from, and many more that I find hard to list here!

Developers wishing to capitalize on Yahoo's geo-aware infrastructure can freely access the Fire Eagle API through Yahoo's Developer Center. Applications fall into three general categories: Web, mobile, and desktop. Since each provides a different authentication type, developers have to have a general idea of what they're building before they can obtain an API key. Yahoo provides a few walk-throughs and examples for developers as well.

Privacy is of course a major concern for Fire Eagle, as it allows you to update your location across any authenticated partner site. it is like a centralized service that knows your location, and sends out updates to its participating sites that you have authorized. meaning to address this issue, it allows you to give certain permissions to different sites, and these settings can be changed at any point through the site.

So all you young developers-cum-entrepreneurs out there, hop on to Fire Eagle and see if you can fire it on!!


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