Fire Eagle launched today. My favorite and most succinct quote in the extensive coverage about Fire Eagle was on VentureBeat from Mike Malone (developer at Pownce, one of the launch partners): “Location is hard, Fire Eagle is easy.” Very simply, Fire Eagle makes it simple for developers to build a wide array of location-aware applications and services without dealing with the hard parts.
The developer side is only half the story, though. For end users, Fire Eagle delivers on privacy. When Fire Eagle first went into beta back in early March, Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb really nailed the importance of Fire Eagle’s focus on end user privacy in combination with the developer platform:
Yahoo! put privacy right out front. Many people want their data to be portable from service to service and many people want that to include their location data from mobile or other interfaces. I personally don’t want my location broadcast automatically, at all, to anyone thank you very much. Fire Eagle has privacy and user control of data written all over it.
Users have the option to hide themselves with a single click, they can click to purge all their data from the Fire Eagle databases, the service even lets you select how often you’d like to receive an email reminding you that it is tracking your location as asking you to confirm that you want tracking to continue. By default you’re emailed once a month for consent to be reconfirmed! Hello trust building measures! It’s almost enough to make me interested in exposing my location, selectively.
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Standards based platform plus strong privacy equals the best scenario I can imagine for a location tracking service.
Indeed. Check out the Application Gallery to see what kinds of applications are being built around Fire Eagle. I’m sure the number will be growing quickly in the coming weeks and months, and I’ll be watching.
In any case, a huge congrats to the Fire Eagle team is in order — nice work!