Yahoo launched Fire Eagle yesterday, a web service that lets users input their location for use by other web applications. Web developers can use its API to create applications that then use this information to provide location-based services to the user.
The user can input their location through a variety of methods, with the most antiquated being the entry of their location on the Fire Eagle website or even, in the hyper Web 2.0 world, SMS. However it also allows phone-based applications to broadcast the user’s location to the web service which allows for real-time uses of local data that open a lot more application possibilites.
The user has control over what location details are broadcast, but privacy advocates are sure to cringe at the encroaching of the smart cloud that knows more about you, as the initial uses for this are largely related to commercial opportunities in your proximity.
Are you imagining an ad network that serves ads relevant to where your laptop or phone currently is? I am and it’s a frickin’ “Starbucks on the right” banner that I think could wring a few more bucks a day out of those caffeine junkies.