Comcast tunes up social networking service
On the heels of debuting the Xfinity Remote on an iPad a few weeks ago at The Cable Show, Comcast said yesterday at a tech conference that it’s close to launching a social networking service that will allow users to share what they’re watching on the Internet and TVs with their friends.
The social networking service is called Tunerfish and is set to go live in beta form in two weeks, according to a story by PC World. Tunerfish made its debut splash yesterday at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York.
Online address book company Plaxo, which Comcast bought two years ago, developed the service. Tunerfish enables users to post the Internet or TV shows they’re watching, or have watched, within a circle of friends in a Foursquare-type environment.
Plaxo vice president of marketing John McCrea shows off Tunerfish, which Plaxo started developing last year, in this rather long YouTube video.
In the video, McCrea said there’s a social technologies group within Comcast that is charged with “socializing” various Comcast products, and that Tunerfish was the end result of that group’s effort. McCrea characterized Tunerfish as an internal start-up with Comcast.
Tunerfish keeps track of the shows that are being viewed in order to show users which ones are trending as the most popular among their friends.
The first version of the service will launch for the Web and for the iPhone and iPad, with a TV version coming at a later date. Tunerfish allows users to import their friend lists from Facebook and Twitter.
Where it’s permissible, the service also allows viewers to embed Internet video from sites such as YouTube and Hulu.
The service currently doesn’t have Xfinity branding on it, which so far seems to indicate that it’s open to all would-be users, but that could change as Comcast moves to integrate its linear, on-demand and Internet viewing.
The Tunerfish site is currently being tested by alpha users in a closed environment, although potential users can sign up to be notified when the service goes into public beta.