Remember DodgeBall, the early social mobile network that languished after Google bought it? So does Leonard Lin, a founding member of Upcoming.org who recently left Yahoo, where he organized Hack Days. He helped write the code for FireBall, a clever mobile geo-location app that brings back the promise of DodgeBall using only other existing services with public APIs.
FireBall is a way for people to keep track of where their friends are on your mobile phone. It uses Yahoo’s Fire Eagle as a geo-location broker and Twitter. It is basically mashup of the two services, plus some functionality from Upcoming.org. (Fire Eagle is a Yahoo service that is a centralized place to keep your location information so that other applications or devices can access it with your permission). People add all of their contacts on Twitter and authorize Fire Eagle to share their location with Fireball. “Instead of creating a new service that forces you to add all of your friends,” says Lin, “we end up using Twitter for messaging,”
When you want to find out where your friends are who have also signed up for FireBall, you send a message to a Fireball account on Twitter. You get back a text message with a Tiny URL link. When you click on the link, it opens up a KML file that launches Google Maps on your cell phone and hows you all your Twitter friends as pinpoints on the map. So your Twitter contacts serve as your mobile social network. You can also Twitter in your location. Simply mention a room at a conference, for instance, and it can pinpoint exactly where you are through integration with Upcoming.org,
FireBall launches today in a private beta for attendees to the Web 2.0 Expo. The first 100 TechCrunch readers who are attending Web 2.0 Expo and send an email to “Fireballme+TechCrunch [at] gmail [dot] com” will recieive an invite. Right now, the service only works in San Francisco.