Today FireEagle launched as an invitation-only beta for developers to start testing. I think of it as a personal location service platform, but the more formal description comes from the announcement on the YDN blog:
Fire Eagle is an open location services platform offering web, mobile, and desktop developers a simple way to build new location-based applications while also ensuring that consumers have complete control over their data, including how, when and where their location is made available. Want to easily make your site responsive to a user's location? Or, maybe you've found a way to capture someone's location and you want to find cool apps to plug it into? By doing the heavy lifting and connecting you to a community of geo-developers, Fire Eagle makes it easier to build location-aware services.
Don't be put off by the downer of a headline that TechCruch used ("Yahoo’s “Twitter For Location” Goes Into Private Beta With Near Zero Functionality"). I think that Mike Arrington either got the wrong message from someone or misunderstood what FireEagle really is today.
It's a location platform for developers to build on. It has an API that, among other things, lets you worry less about handling geo data and easily build in support for your web, desktop, or mobile application.
It's currently not aimed at end users or "consumers" (oh, how I hate that term). I'm sure the analogy to Twitter was intended to be a loose one.
Congrats to Tom and team for getting FireEagle out the door. :-)
VentureBeat has good coverage here: Yahoo’s FireEagle location service to launch publicly today
Oh, BTW... FireEagle uses OAuth for authentication!