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Yahoo launches Fire Eagle location-sharing tool

50 live applications already using new platform

Yahoo has announced the general availability of a new location-sharing platform called Fire Eagle.

Fire Eagle is a service that web users can employ to update their location information and share that information with web-based applications of their choosing. It's built on an open platform, so application developers can tap into the information to add location-aware features to their services.

Movable Type, for example, has built a Fire Eagle plug-in that displays users' locations on their blogs, automatically updating the information every time users rebuild their sites.

With Fire Eagle, Pownce, a site for sharing music, photos and other files, now can geotag messages.

Yahoo envisions Fire Eagle as a single tool for users to manage their location information, deciding which applications can and can't have access to their location. In addition, users can choose the level of location detail that an application can access, such as the name of the city only or a more precise location based on GPS. Users can also authorise online, mobile or desktop applications to update their Fire Eagle locations automatically.

More than 50 live applications are using Fire Eagle, Yahoo said. Yahoo envisions new applications that automatically find a user's location based on their Fire Eagle profile and offer them nearby services or information.

The launch of Fire Eagle follows a string of other Yahoo announcements, perhaps designed to try to prove that the company can reverse its flagging fortunes without Microsoft, which offered to buy it earlier this year. Since Yahoo turned down that offer, it has unveiled its open strategy, a new advertising management platform, a cloud computing group and the OneConnect mobile social network.

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