Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Taste for Tunerfish?

Many people didn't like Plaxo; I'm an exception. I loved that it pulled everything together: contacts, social, even staying in sync. But, as I wrote before, they were permanently stung with the "bac'n" problem: they spammed your friends on behalf of you, to try to build the network: once that happened, there was little to recover. Luckily, Comcast purchased them for address book migration, so they soldiered on. Actually, they did far more: they built a FriendFeed like service, added premium options, and continued to innovate. Many people, myself included, wondered what the Comcast purchase would do to contribute to that innovation.

When word leaked at TechCrunch's Disrupt conference that the team would be debuting a new service, TunerFish, it sounded like a perfect marriage: Comcast's TV and Plaxo's social media. The details were vague, but they promised "one click social sharing of what you were watching." I eagerly signed up, as it's a way to share the passions I love with the folks who are interested. This week, got by beta invite, and I clicked over to see what my TunerFish life would be.

What I found was, as one commenter put it, a one-way Twitter client. Yes, you can type in a name of a show or movie, and publish that you are watching it to Twitter and Facebook, and your friends can join TunerFish to do the same. In essence, it appears to be a Foursquare for TV, complete with the earning of badges and levels. But where was the integration? Could I not set a feature on my Comcast DVR to allow a "one-click" publish to TunerFish? Ok, maybe that's too much to ask; how about an iPhone app to at least let me "check in" that I'm watching a show? Not yet. Why location-based services have worked is that they connect the immediate world with the virtual: the phone GPS knows where you are, and allows you to check in. Comcast knows what I am watching; allow me to easily socialize that!

There is much potential here. How about being able to see not just what your friends are watching, but the trends across Comcast? That would make the "discovery engine" at least valuable. Or get fancy: use Shazam-like technology to let your phone "hear" what you are watching and identify the program, so you can publish it. How about a rewards program for viewership? The list goes on...

I like the idea of TunerFish, but it's got a ways to go before it changes the world as much as I hope. The team behind it is great, and the backing is right; it's just a matter of putting the pieces together. I write this in hopes of helping them get there!


Sarah Tierney said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah said...

Tunerfish is a not-quite-finished knock-off of Miso ( Miso has had an iphone application since March. Check it out!