Yahoo! Releases Fire Eagle Out of Beta

At a lunch conference yesterday, Yahoo! released Fire Eagle out of beta. This API allows you to broadcast your location to whomever you want, automatically or manually via your phone. You can post your location on your blog or other various sites. To me, and certain segments of the population, this sounds like a nightmare. To other segments of the population, this sounds way-cool. The latter segment is the same population that thinks email is ancient technology. How secure does today’s youth feel that they want people to know exactly—to the address—of their current location?

At yesterday’s press conference, I saw three different demos of this type of application. The first was from Pownce. The 25-year old co-founder presented Pownce as a means to “send stuff to your friends” because who has time for email and all that spam? Pownce uses Fire Eagle and tells all your friends where you are, in case you want them to join you, without courtesy of an invite or a phone call. Because, you know, phone calls and invitations take so much time what with all the dialing, ringing, and having to leave a voice mail… and then you have to wait for someone to call you back. Who has time for that?

Moveable Type, Six Apart’s flagship product, was the second demo and also featured Fire Eagle. You guessed it, this application allows you to post your current location on your blog. Just in case you want anyone who happens to read your blog to stop by and say hello, or mug you, or something…

The last demo was the most useful looking, to me. Radar brings you local blogging news. Based on the concept that you are concerned about the pot hole on your street and not concerned about the pot hole in the next city, Radar tells you who is blogging what within 1000 feet of your zip code (you manually provide your zip code). I gave it a test drive and I learned that someone wrote a review of a restaurant that is within walking distance of my home. The site provided more links to more information about this restaurant—and several others in the area—that I don’t think I’ll ever have time to click on them all. It also allows you to track all future news items about this restaurant. It is information overload at it’s finest. Talk about a time suck. I could seriously get lost on this site.

As for me using Fire Eagle, I think I’ll put it on hold. I’m very comfortable without people knowing exactly where I am at all times. Unexpected visits do not sound all that appealing to me. But then again, I think email is still useful, so I am probably not the targeted audience for this API.

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