Fire Eagle's missing apps

What the geo-location broker is missing, according to its creator.

Rafe Needleman Former Editor at Large
Rafe Needleman reviews mobile apps and products for fun, and picks startups apart when he gets bored. He has evaluated thousands of new companies, most of which have since gone out of business.
Rafe Needleman
2 min read

Tom Coates, creator of Yahoo's Fire Eagle data location broker, took the stage at Where 2.0 to talk up some of the cool new apps that use the platform. "Fire Eagle is nothing," Coates said, without the apps. Nearly all the apps he mentioned are listed on the Fire Eagle's Gallery page (log-in required), but what I thought was more interesting were the apps he mentioned that don't support Fire Eagle yet, but should. Or that simply don't exist:

The Spot Satellite Messenger is a handheld device that reports your position, anywhere in the world, every 10 minutes. It gets your data from GPS and reports it via the commercial satellite phone network. It sends data to Google Maps but really cries out for a Fire Eagle link, Coates said. (Likewise the Isaac Daniels Compass GPS-equipped shoes--yes, they appear to be real.)

Fire Eagle architect Tom Coates at the Where 2.0 conference. Rafe Needleman/CNET

Coates wants Last.fm to get geo-enabled. He sees two use cases. First, he'd like to be able to look into his personal playlist and see not just what he played and when, but where. Second, he thinks it'd be very cool to see group data on geo-coded music preferences: Which music is popular in a given neighborhood or building, for example. Sounds like a job for the Wi-Fi-equipped Zune player. Too bad Microsoft and Yahoo fell out.

Coates hinted that Yahoo is working on a friend locator widget for its Yahoo Widget Engine. This app, run on a PC or Mac, would show you when your friends are on their PCs nearby. A special case of this app is the "Boss Proximizer," which warns you when your supervisor is nearby. ("It's coming," Coates said, "Trust me.") I'd like to see location widgets for more popular platforms--like OS X, Vista, and Google.

Coates also wanted to see integration into Twitter, so Fire Eagle could post your location when you wanted it to. This may be along soon, via Whrrl (story), a geolocation service that will work with Skyhook Wireless' Wi-Fi location finder, Loki. And Loki, it happens, works with Fire Eagle.

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