Location Based Services: How is Shizzow Unique?

As Silicon Florist pointed out earlier this week, a new service called Shizzow recently launched as a private beta here in Portland, Oregon. This location based service is intended to connect friends by broadcasting your current location. According to their site:

Shizzow is a location-based social web service that we built with the goal of helping you build quality relationships through face-to-face interaction. Shizzow provides the technology for you to notify your friends of your location, with as little effort as possible, so you can spend more time hanging out with your peeps and less time trying to coordinate bringing them together through phone, email, SMS and IM.

As I think about Shizzow and the site’s use cases, I can’t help but wonder how this service is any different than existing location based services (LBS). More specifically, how is Shizzow any different from Fire Eagle by Yahoo! ? Shizzow recently posted about this topic on their site, but the post failed to address how they are different and/or better than existing LBS offerings.

Fire Eagle is a service that tracks your current location and gives the user super-granular control over the location data. The service strives to ensure the user that they are in control of this private data that could otherwise be exploited. Fire Eagle is more useful currently because of their API inclusion that more than 50 location services such as BrightKite and Plazes use.

On the surface, Shizzow appears to be just another place to put my data that is another silo of information on the net. They have no API and no integration with other sites. At least with Fire Eagle, I can advertise my location to many different services and many different devices.

Shizzow has one thing going for it: it knows business names, not just addresses. This is useful because I may want to broadcast that I’m at Starbucks on 4th street, but most LBS services will say, “Jason is as 214 4th Avenue”. Having the business name makes it easier for my friends to find me.

I am not trying to be critical and I am very excited about Portland based startups. However, I want to offer my feedback from a subjective viewpoint. I look forward to the comments and discussion to follow.

Please educate me. 🙂