Fire Eagle - The GPS Ankle Bracelet for The Rest of US

In the continuing march of location-aware web applications, Yahoo! released their Fire Eagle service. What is that you ask?

Fire Eagle is a site that stores information about your location. With your permission, other services and devices can either update that information or access it. By helping applications respond to your location, Fire Eagle is designed to make the world around you more interesting! Use your location to power friend-finders, games, local information services, blog badges and stuff like that…

Basically Fire Eagle is a go-between between applications that want to report where you are, and other applications that want to know where you are. At launch there seems to already be a lot of said applications on both sides, and I imagine the list is going to grow at a fast clip. If you ever saw a fake felon on TV wearing a fake GPS ankle bracelet and, GIS geek that you are, cried out in jealousy, here’s your chance.

Of course I exaggerate. In theory you have complete control over who accesses your location information. If you’re like me and the only actual result of unauthorized geo-eavesdropping is documented proof of how boring you are, you probably don’t care if that theory pans out or not. There will be side-benefits down the road as well - when you travel to a particular area you can be notified of other things going on around you, like traffic problems or a King’s X concert.* And if you’re trying to do a meet-up and everybody’s cell is updating their location, you can track their movements. You know, like they had the GPS ankle bracelets felons wear. Only voluntarily.

I’m going to go on record as not understanding this sort of thing. To me it’s geo-micro-blogging, or Twitter for your XY coordinates. And I just don’t get Twitter. I don’t care what you’re doing this exact second, and how that’s different from what you were doing 5 minutes ago. I can’t think of anybody on Earth that would want minute-by-minute updates of what I’m doing or where I am, and that includes a wife and son that are contractually obligated to like me. If I met somebody that wanted to know that much about me, I think that would be a good enough reason for me not to want them to know that much about me. My current actions and location should be a mystery that inspires awe in my allies and fear in my adversaries. Like Batman, were he to drive a Kia.

But I digress. The web site is nicely laid out, and the one application I tried seemed pretty easy to use. Give it a shot if you’re into this sort of thing.

*Saw King’s X and Extreme in Charlotte on Tuesday. I highly recommend this. My back, lungs, liver, ears, and “woooohoooo!” vocal cords are mixed on the whole affair.