State of the Eagle

Both South by Southwest and my lease are coming up this weekend, which means
that Fire Eagle is a year old. Last March, we
started sending out invitations to the Fire Eagle Beta. Since then, we’ve
worked hard to build out an equal access platform, with both libraries and
APIs, focusing on getting data and information to external developers and
determining the best ways to preserve users’ privacy.

In the meantime, Mozilla Labs released
Geode, more and more startups are
incorporating location as a way to improve their users’ experience,
Google launched
Latitude, and I have a copy of
Wired Magazine’s “Inside the GPS
” on my desk. User location
is finally hitting the big-time and is clearly here to stay.

If you hadn’t already realized this, you should be incorporating user location
into your applications. Fire Eagle is how. Incorporating Fire Eagle into your
sites allows you to tap into your users’ locations while benefiting from the
ecosystem of other developers doing the same thing.

We hit the pavement hard last year, both to test out Fire Eagle’s location
awareness and to spread the word. We launched at ETech, gave out t-shirts at
SXSW, presented our vision for pervasive user location at Where 2.0, Webstock,
and Web 2.0 Expo, discussed privacy at WhereCamp and the Social Computing
Summit, and pondered ways to provide real-time access at XTech and OSCON.

With the help of the open-source community, we’ve developed Fire Eagle
libraries for:

Once the iPhone SDK was released, we started seeing Fire Eagle updaters in the
App Store:

If you look hard enough, you might even find the unfinished one that Mike from
Pownce built and released into the public domain.

We built a WordPress plugin to complement
Six Apart’s MovableType

and watched as the developer of the Java library built an updater for Android

Last month, we released the result of our OAuth+XMPP experiments as
low-latency Location
complete with Java
Ruby, and
C# support. We had our OAuth
implementation referred to as the “gold
providing “users and developers real added value that can only be done using
OAuth.” *blush*

This weekend, we’re back at South by Southwest with more t-shirts and a couple
new tricks.

First, we’ve built the Fire Eagle Updater
for Firefox. It provides a simple,
easily accessible way to update your location from your browser whenever you

We’ve also put together a little something we’re calling “Friends on
”. It’s a Facebook app that allows you
to share your location with your friends and send them signals about what
you’re up to (or what you’d rather be doing). We initially wanted to present
it as an example of what you can do with Fire Eagle (because it is), but we
think it’s impressive enough to stand on its own as a valuable addition to
your Facebook experience. Tell your friends!

All and all, it’s been a great year for user location on the web and we look
forward to seeing what 2009 brings. We look forward to hearing from you!

Seth Fitzsimmons
Fire Eagle Tech Lead