The good folks at Yahoo! have opened up subscriptions to Fire Eagle, a location based service. You can log in to Fire Eagle and update your location info so that all applications connected to Fire Eagle can use that information. An article on Webmonkey describes how this works with Pownce and addresses some of the privacy issues.
In my talk at OSCON I described location based advertising as one of the most important features to enable free (both gratis and libre) mobile email for the masses. Imagine a world without annoying billboards, where the ads are displayed on your cell phone but only giving information that are both coherent with what your tastes and relevant to where you are. Say you’re lefthanded and you’re walking close to one of these shops: wouldn’t you love to know that instead of watching half naked women on billboards?
Before we get to location based ads we have to start building experience and knowledge, learn how to deal with privacy issues and so on.’ Fire Eagle allows to start from simple things, like adding elementary location information to Funambol email client. Using Fire Eagle APIs it should be fairly simple to add at the bottom of the email something like “Sent from <current location known to Fire Eagle>”. In the future, Funambol email client could also read the location data from GPS or network cells and update the status on Fire Eagle, automatically. We’ll need a simple way to add bogus location, though, so that all messages to the BigBoss will appear as coming from the office, even if you’re surfing. That’d be cool 🙂
Is anybody interested in adding this feature to Funambol email client? Let me know.