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Yahoo Lights Friends On Fire

The Facebook application based on Yahoo's Fire Eagle software lets social network friends know where you are and what you're up to.

Yahoo on Friday introduced Friends on Fire.

It's not promoting acquaintance arson. Rather, the search portal hopes you'll install its new Facebook application called Friends on Fire, to let social network friends know where you are and what you're up to.

Yahoo's rationale for this aspiration is increasing the usage of its Fire Eagle location data platform, upon which Friends on Fire is built.

"We like to describe Fire Eagle as a place to store information about your location. You can get your location into Fire Eagle by using all kinds of different Fire Eagle updaters -- from iPhones to Web sites," explains Tom Coates, head of Fire Eagle at Yahoo, in a blog post. "And then -- if you want -- you can choose to share your location with all kinds of applications all over the Internet."

More than 70 applications have been created using the Fire Eagle application programming interface. They include Dopplr, Loki, Pownce, and Skout.

Fire Eagle debuted last August at Yahoo's now-defunct startup incubator known as Brick House. The service offers consumers a central hub for controlling how their location data is distributed. It accepts location data from mobile devices, or from online user input, and parcels that information out programmatically to third-party services.

In February, Google launched a related offering of its own called Latitude. Latitude is a Google Maps feature that allows Google account holders to share their location information with their friends and contacts.

Location data is widely seen as a way to make local and mobile advertising more profitable, provided privacy issues don't get in the way.

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