In the last year, we’ve covered well over a dozen activity aggregators, nearly all of which share a single goal: helping you keep track of your friends’ exploits across the web.
Today, we see the launch of Fwix, an aggregator that is taking a (thankfully) different approach. Fwix isn’t concerned with your friends – instead, it keeps track of what’s going on in your physical region. The site pulls data from over 30 APIs including Yelp, Twitter, and Eventful, with more on the way. Every 15 minutes it combs through thousands of potential stories, using a series of algorithms to determine what the hottest items are in your city – it’s sort of like a regional News Feed.
But Fwix doesn’t just bear a resemblance to Facebook’s News Feed in function – a quick tour around the site reveals that it’s nearly visually identical as well. This isn’t a coincidence: Darian Shirazi, one of the site’s co-founders, was an early Facebook employee who was involved with the News Feed project.
The site is laid out well and is very intuitive. Users can browse through stories by their category (News, media, etc.), and can also choose to look at a regional or universal stream. And because there’s no login, the site could easily serve as a Digg alternative for users looking for a constant stream of new content to read (though I quickly began to wish it refreshed more often than once every 15 minutes).
Fwix has potential, but it still lacks a number of key features. For one, there’s really no way to figure out why a given story is being displayed in the feed. This morning I was presented with a series of photos of a Renaissance fair, with no indication as to why this stream was considered popular. To remedy this, Fwix needs to include a descriptive measure of each item’s popularity (something along the lines of “there have been 3 blog posts and 5 tweets about this photo”). There’s also currently no way to select which APIs you’d like to draw data from, though the team says this is on the way.
Fwix will see competition from a number of other activity streams (FriendFeed) and news aggregators (SocialMedian and Regator), but most of these do not consider location in their algorithms.