In Fire Eagles inaugural TechCrunch review, the line that jumped out was the terribly misguided leader “Fire Eagle launches with near zero functionality”. Were Fire Eagle a traditional location based service, this would likely be fair; but surely TC is missing the point. FE sits at the apex of services, providing a consistent route and API so that whichever consumer service a users uses, they can consequently propagate that update (at their discretion and convenience) to all the other services. In a nutshell this can be done:
* Directly at the FE website / direct via SMS etc
* via an FE compatible app
* or via a future FE social app
The 3rd option is my concern; if only because users need to be very clear where FE primarily sits as a service. I’d even say there was a potential argument against FE producing a (e.g.Facebook) app because it should be the FE application developers who develop the apps and services which then utilise FE as the location propagator between them. This then retains value for the app developers in having their users interface directly with them. In this respect TC seemed to miss the point and failed to focus heavily enough on why IMHO FE is an important catalyst for all of us working in LBS.
This leads me to a final point, which is are there any plans to support signup of users to FE via the API (I haven’t checked so if it does apologies) in parallel and at the time of signup, e.g. when they signup to Rummble they become a member of FE by default? Likewise combining this with FE Support for OpenID would further accelerate FE’s chance of survival and acceptance as a defacto location propagation tool, and hopefully ensure users understand FE’s remit as primarily being the glue between services not a service itself (assuming of course that last point is true! 🙂
Oh, and whoever said to TC that Fire Eagle is like “Twitter with location” should be shot — its a bad comparison for all sorts of reasons, not least because Blaine & co are still struggling to keep their services reliable, but mostly because it completely undersells the effect that an industry wide propagation service for LBS may have.
If the woman sitting next to me on this flight to SXSW doesn’t stop making deafening suction sounds chewing her boiled sweet … there will be blood.