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23 December 2008

FireEagle + Relocatable

Last month I was fortunate enough to see a presentation at Google headquarters UK from Yahoo!'s FireEagle team, part of the inaugural location-based developer meetup session.  (That's right, not only did Google let Yahoo!s in the building, they even gave them food and drink -- of course, we all had to sign an NDA to get into the meeting room, presumably so we wouldn't wander about jotting down random scrawlings on people's whiteboards).  As you might know, FireEagle is a permission-based location storage service.  It's sort of like a depot where you can save your most recent location, and allow other (FireEagle-enabled) web sites and services to access it.  They are apparently close to launching a Facebook application, for example, that lets you locate anyone in your friends list who has a FireEagle account.
There are several FireEagle-related apps in the AppStore but they also suffer from the Apple restriction of not being able to run in the background, a condition that can only be avoided on a jailbroken phone.  This is exactly the scenario that got me to write the Relocatable application in the first place, and sadly, it's not one that is likely to be resolved soon.
For those of you who are interested in always-on updates to FireEagle via your iPhone, Robbie over at has a recipe for you.  He goes through the full process, including jailbreaking, installing Locatable/Relocatable, and setting up some python scripts to send your location data to FireEagle automatically.  Good stuff!
Speaking of FireEagle, I'd love to see a web-only solution also, using the W3C API and Locatable.  This would be more of an on-demand app, e.g. a bookmark for iPhone Safari that when loaded would save your current location.  Any takers?  Let me know and I'll put a link up here.

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15 August 2008

Sneak peek

I'm close to a beta release for Locatable, and I'm excited enough about it that I wanted to give a quick preview, from a tech-centric point of view. Locatable is an application and geolocation federation service that let you share your location (GPS coordinates, or any decent facsimile thereof) from your iPhone or iPod Touch to any web site, via the built-in Safari browser. It takes advantage of the new client-side storage capabilities of Safari to allow some very nice anonymity and privacy features -- notably, the user's location is never stored on the server side, with the service at acting as a gateway to storage on the device. There's a lot to say about this and its relationship to similar services such as MyLoki (Skyhook) and FireEagle (Yahoo!). Both of those could be integrated, as can just about any existing location-based service. Anyway, check out the concept and check back for more updates soon.

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