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Yahoo Fire Eagle to be Location Clear House

Posted by Charles | March 8, 2008 .

At this year’s ETech, Yahoo rolled out another location based startup, Fire Eagle. It’s a platform ( with APIs) for sharing your location online. It gives applications the ability to update, query and track your location, with user-driven privacy controls allow setting of location availability and granularity. The attached diagram shows how it works.

I talked to those developers. Behind the service is actually a high performance geocoding technology from a company Yahoo bought last year. Some highlights here:

.: It’s a pure platform play as an independent startup.
.: The REST-based API supports OAuth as the authentication mechanism.
.: The query API lets you restive data in GeoJSON and GeoRSS formatted data.
.: There are user-selectable levels of accuracy that range from neighborhood to country.

They view this as one of the building blocks to support larger vision for location based services. So, they turned a good old boring geocoding service into something cool and very useful web 2.0 service platform.

Another thing is interesting. The group created the startup is called Yahoo! Brickhouse. It’s the same group created Yahoo! Pipe last year. Yahoo Brickhouse is a semi-autonomous business unit to foster innovation in a startup-like environment. Brickhouse employees will be recruited mostly from inside Yahoo, who may take a sabbatical from their normal jobs to work on a project. However, there were some sizable layoff (or reduction) at the Yahoo Brickhouse group. Not sure how this startup model works anymore in Yahoo.

Fire Eagle is in invitation only beta. I got the invite code from them. Here it is if you want to take a look: zYws7OgvMtszOLzX

Location bases services are increasingly a hot topics and ventures among startups and VCs. But still, it’s hard nut to crack because there is no killer way to collect location data, in a Web 2.0-crowd-sourcing way. Obviously Yahoo is trying something to be a location clear house with service like Fire Eagle. Critical mass and quality participation are essential for service like to work. So far I can say Yahoo Pipe is a very good output of Yahoo Brckhouse. Let’s see how far Fire Eagle can go.

 

fire eagle

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1 Comment so far
  1. Sidney de Koning  June 23, 2008 4:45 am

    Hi,

    Can you spare an invite for me?
    I’d love one.

    Thanks,

    Sidney de Koning

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