Yahoo's Fire Eagle Powers the iPhone Locator App Sparrow

There is something to be said for simplicity, especially when it comes to applications that leverage web APIs for mobile devices.  Enter Sparrow, an application for the iPhone, that serves as a good example of how a few web APIs can be elegantly implemented for use on a mobile device.

Sparrow, is a location updater application that enables users to update their Fire Eagle and Twitter (optional) statuses on the iPhone.  Leveraging Yahoo!'s Fire Eagle geolocation broker service (our Fire Eagle API Profile), which allows users to securely update their location across various "location-aware" services, Sparrow can be configured to use the iPhone's built-in GPS to automatically update a user's location. Users can also update their location manually by entering an address or tapping on their location on a map. More details at our Sparrow profile.


This all might sound simple, and in fact, it is.  As Tyler Hall, the developer behind Sparrow explains on his blog:

The best mobile apps do one thing, do it well, and then let you get on with your life. That was the goal of Sparrow. Tap the icon on your home screen, wait a few seconds, and you’re done. That’s it. Your location in Fire Eagle and Twitter are updated. I was worried that some users may clamor for more features, but, so far, the initial App Store reviews are positive.

We encourage developers to take note of Sparrow and its underlying success, which highlight the fact that oftentimes simple mashups (even if they only serve one purpose) can prove to be quite valuable. Suffice it to say that we look forward to seeing the development of other simple, yet useful, applications that leverage one or more APIs in this fashion.

Be sure to read the next Mashups article: 120 Twitter Mashups and Growing Fast