While I’m no tech wiz, I consider myself pretty hip to the whole online thing. I can’t help being fascinated by the cool things of the online realm that the Geniuses of Now have come up with.
I’m particularly fascinated by the proliferation of social software applications and enhanced interactivity sometimes known as Web 2.0. When I really stopped to think about it, I realized that the way I live and work and play online has shifted rather dramatically because of these new toys and resources over the past year or two.
Recently, I discovered (via content aggregator meets social software phenomenon Digg) this Web 2.0 Innovation Map. In a Web 2.0 move in and of itself, it uses Google Maps to geographically plot out the companies (from down-and-dirty garages to drowning-in-VC heaven-rich varieties) that are shaking and moving the online world to the tune of 2.0 drumbeats.
The Map Geek meets Research & Analysis Geek within couldn’t resist, so I here and now humbly present my findings of some of the more interesting innovators that span the map. There’s a hell of a lot of innovators out there, so consider this a kind of Best Of Part I edition. I’ll be checking in from time-to-time with more.
Webjay (Honolulu, HI): Playlist Community
Create and share playlists with some kind of RSS element thrown in. Member names on the front page include “Kiss My Chucks” and “Sucka Free.”
Wikipedia (St. Petersburg, FL): Encyclopedia Goes Wiki
Hasn’t the name alone gone the way of Kleenex and Xerox already? This group project phenomenon has become a backbone of research on the Internet. Do you have to take some information found therein with a grain of salt and others on faith? Sure, but it’s increasingly unlikely that you’ll find glaring errors. Next up: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, online edition.
Streamload MediaMax (San Diego, CA): File Sharing Max Out
The pitch goes: “Streamload MediaMax is an Internet service that allows digital users to easily and securely send, store, move, receive and access their digital files; like video, music and photos.” I feel exhausted just pondering on that.
Blogcritics.org (Aurora, OH): Superior Bloggers on Music, Politics, TV, Film, Books, Sports, Gaming, Science, Technology, and Culture
Now that’s what I’m trying to say! Seriously, in my very biased view, this is the spot where the professional gloss of the mainstream media meets the funky and personality-driven flow of the blogosphere. (Full disclosure: I’m the exec producer for these finest of fine cats, and had no idea that Blogcritics made the Web 2.0 Innovators map until I stumbled across it! “Well of course!” I roared out in my living room, startling my previously napping dog.)
Blinksale (Hurst, TX): Online Billing
Not super-flashy, but easing the ability for people to conduct transactions seamlessly and efficiently online will further revolutionize the way we do business… and clear the way for more cool stuff to get created!
Fruitcast (Mesa, AZ): Add Ads to Podcasts
Allowing an easy way for self-publishers (bloggers, podcasters, vloggers, etc.) to add a commercial break might suck for humanity but is an easy winner as an automated web-tool.
Coastr (Santa Ana, CA): “An experiment in social networking for beer snobs…”
Hmm… I’ll need to investigate this one more closely and get back to you.
Userplane (Los Angeles, CA): Flash and Video Chat
I imagine something like video chat will be “big” at some point, but there’s got to be some Pets.coms in the mix here, and this could be one of them.
Coverpop (Sunland, CA): 1,300 Cereal Boxes (for starters)
I opened the page and there were a cacophony of trombones and images and box-popping-boxes popping before my eyes. Refresh and I see, I’m told, “the equivalent fiber of one box of colon-blow” with (apparently) 1,300 vintage cereal boxes before me from which to choose, enlarge, and play about with. It’s kind of like that weird police computer in Minority Report, only less evil. In other words: cool.
ElfURL (Dallas, TX): TinyURL Goes Web 2.0?
Adding on to TinyURL’s deal where it takes a 59 character URL and makes it tinier (or elf-ier), ElfURL allows you to tag the URL for Rel-tags and del.icio.us. This is one of those ideas that sounds kind of “edgy” and technical but I have no idea how useful it would be.
bitBomb (Orange, CA): Text2Fon
Text message reminders to your cell phone. A really useful idea that might catch on, boy band-style, with the kiddies.
castingWords.com (Espanola, NM): Podcast Transcripts
At $.42 per minute, more old school business proposition than new school Web 2.0 doodad. But in the new Web 2.0 boom, or boomlet, or non-boom, or something, it just might cash in.
Are we seeing a “Web 2.0 boom” akin to the dot com utopia of the late 1990s? Does Web 2.0 even exist or is it just a catchy term that doesn’t hold much substance?
Whatever the case, there’s lots of cool things going on out there. I’m looking forward to reporting back with more.