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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Placemaker by Yahoo - location awareness

What is Placemaker?

Placemaker provides developers with the means to geo-enrich their content, such as web pages, blog posts, feeds, news articles, status updates, and their applications which make use of such information. Placemaker is an open API; it helps developers to make applications and data sets location aware. Placemaker is not a geocoder, it is a geo-enrichment service that assists in determining the whereness of unstructured content and helps make the Internet increasingly hyper local.

How does Placemaker Work?

1. Developers specify structured and unstructured content; feeds, web pages, news, status articles, etc.

2. Placemaker identifies, disambiguates and extracts places

3. Placemaker returns geographic metadata, which determines thewhereness of structured and unstructured content

How do I access Placemaker?

Just as for Yahoo! GeoPlanet, accessing Placemaker is simple:

1. Read the online documentation and user guide atdeveloper.yahoo.com/geo/placemaker/guide

2. Get an Application Id at developer.yahoo.com/wsregapp

3. POST your content towherein.yahooapis.com/v1/document supplying your Application Id.

Is using Placemaker Free?

Yes, Placemaker is an open and freely available geo-enrichment tool; you need to have a valid Application Id but there is currently no formal rate limiting imposed. In the future, we may permit commercial usage with partners under separate terms but we want to ensure that the service remains free, open and available.

Where Does Placemaker Fit in With Yahoo! Geo Technologies’ products?

The Yahoo! Geo Technologies group wants to connect our users with the world around them. Yahoo! is an information and technology company – we collect and create content, and get it into the hands of our users in the most relevant and useful way possible. Geography plays a big part in how we do that; we are always looking at how we can better join the Web world and the real world.

Last May, we released Yahoo! GeoPlanet, which helps bridge the gap between the real and virtual worlds by providing an open, permanent, and intelligent infrastructure for geo-referencing data on the Internet. You can learn more athttp://developer.yahoo.com/geo/.

In the fall, we introduced Fire Eagle, which acts as a location broker that allows users to take their location to the Web. Users have complete control over their data with Fire Eagle: they choose which third-party applications to share their location with, and at what resolution or granularity they wish to expose it –- as broad as country or state, to as detailed as a long/lat coordinate, and everything in between. More information is athttp://fireeagle.yahoo.net/.

Now, with Placemaker, we can help developers and publishers make applications and data sets location-aware by determining thewhereness of unstructured content. Once users share their location information using FireEagle, we help provide hyper-local information based on their geography, adding value to content that is delivered to them wherever they are.

The bottom line is that location-aware systems provide a more topical, more relevant user experience. When users interact with the Internet and, more specifically, with Yahoo!, we aim to provide them with the most geo-relevant information available.

Placemaker and Privacy

Privacy on the Internet is an important issue and one which Yahoo! Geo Technologies takes very seriously. There are no privacy concerns or issues with Placemaker; the web service acts on content which is already available on the Web, it does not act on a user’s location.

How do I Find out More?

If you visited the Yahoo! booth at Where 2.0 you may have seen our Placemaker handout, but if you’ve lost this or weren’t lucky enough to be at Where 2.0 you can download a PDF copy of it here. Other Geo Technologies and Placemaker resources include:

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