Web 2.0: Launchpad

13 companies in 90 minutes.

Zimbra: An open-source collaboration suite. Lots of Ajax. Everything is Ajax. He’s getting lots of awws from the crowd for allowing you to see where an appointment is or what you have on a date without having to leave the email. Ajax and Google map mashup and Skype mashup. Can’t lose, eh?

Nevermind my ajax gags. This really looks wonderful: very smart use of interface to let you get around your data (show me just the emails from the guy between these dates that have this kind of attachment; show me a FedEx tracking number and go ahead and get the status dynamically, and so on). In six minutes, it looks like a winner. Best of the bunch. Everybody in the audience wanted it.

Flock: A social browser. The web is not just content or shopping but a stream of events among people, they say. So they built a browser opensource on top of Mozilla; the first, alpha release comes in a few weeks.

It combines favorites and RSS feeds: you click a star on the address bar and it’s a bookmark and you’ve subscribed if there’s a feed. With a story on the page, you can take content and drag it onto a “shelf” (the demo devil is bedeviling them). There’s also a “blogging top bar” within the browser — important for bloggers — that allows you to open a blogging editor and drag content from a page onto your post. Very nice.

Zvents: “Takes the search approach to events.” It’s live for the Bay Area. They’re trying to do deals with old-style local publishers, which is smart, since local sites tend to suck at this. They have what-where-when searches that deliver into maps, lists, and calendars. And the lists are exportable to your blog; it’s distributed.

Socialtext: Ross Mayfield says that Socialtext, the first wiki company, will go open-source. It’s coming full-circle: Wikis came from open-source and now a wiki company goes open-source. He says that wikis are happening inside companies at larger scales than before; organizations are sharing information. “Now we’re giving it all away.” Marc Canter screams: Awwright.”

Wikiwyg.net, the wysiwyg open-source for wikis, is the first step (I think it’s quite neat). Then they add SyncroEdit.com: real-time synchronous editing for the web. Now add in Atom and microformats for offline editing.

Rollyo: Dave Pell, big blogger: “This is going to be the shortest nonsexual performance of my life.”

He shows Rollyo: roll your own search engine. I’m on the beta list: you add a list of the sites you want to search on a regular basis. You can also get people to come to your personal search engines. And you can explore others’ search rolls.

Orb: Shows you all your content from home on any web-connected device anywhere. Works only on PC now; Mac by the end of the year. Very nice.

Wink: Combines search with user interactivity: “people-powered search.” (Well, in a sense, Google is just that, eh?) You can tag search and add that into tags on Delicious et al. They say this means it’s spam free (if tags don’t get spammed, I suppose).
Joyent: A network suite of applications with email, calendar, contacts, files and binders. The data is tagged and smart filtered and can be turned into RSS feeds. The data is open and transportable. It’s focused on small groups of 2-20 people. So, for example, you can overlay other people’s calendars onto your own. So far, I shrug.

Bunchball: It tries to solve the “social application gap” and the “replication of reality.” Didn’t know I had those problems. He’s saying that entering into new social applications is hard because there’s an investment. It’s a platform for starting social applications. I suspect this is a bad-timing award against the announcement this week of Mark Andreesen’s Ninq.

RealTravel: “Real travel. Real advice. Real experiences.” It enables people to put up travel journals and ratings. Not sure what’s different from TripAdvisor, which is already huge.

Knownow: It’s a Kleiner-funded company that’s about dynamic distribution of content. I don’t know what that means yet. It’s a notification service using RSS. I frankly don’t get it.

AllPeers: A web development platform based on Firefox.

Structured Blogging: From the PubSub guys comes a plug-in to Word Press that gets people to publish structured data. It basically adds prepopulated tags — not loose-form — to get people to add the fact that this is a restaurant review, for example. Wish it would work; we’ll see whether it does. I think the key is that people will do this if it helps their stuff be discovered — e.g., to get a restaurant review on your blog aggregated with all your neighbors’ restaurant reviews.

: A slicker version of this report over at Lifehacker, where I’m flattered to be reporting.

  • I must be getting old. All these new online technolgies just baffle me. The power of hypertext markup is that you can explain it to someone in a single sentence.

    “Just click on the highlighted words and you will find related material.”

    If the new idea needs paragraphs to explain it doesn’t catch on. Most people are consumers of information, not producers. Bloggers and pundits, perhaps, have a better appreciation for new interactive ideas since they are in the field, but what does the gizmo do for the average person?

    Blogging caught on because it is just the online analog of a well known idea: the diary or shared gossip.

    I’m not trying to stifle innovation, I just hope that those coming up with ideas evaluate them as to their acceptability as well as their “coolness”.

  • Indeed amazing. All this related to Web 2.0, a – how shall I call it – collection of features, applications, technologies to make life easier on us.

    But what’s next? Web 3.0 where all these thingies get combines and they just call it cOmbine 3.0.

    But I sure wanted to be there as well.

  • I don’t think you’re getting old Robert…a lot of these companies strike me as technology for technology’s sake.

  • Re: Flock’s WYSIWYG blogging, also check out RocketPost: http://www.anconia.com/rocketpost

    It’s the most advanced blog editor out right now (disclaimer, I designed it).

  • Hey Jeff – Here’s the difference between Ning and Bunchball (from my understanding of Ning): Ning lets php developers modify & create social websites like Flickr, Match.com, HotorNot, Craigslist, etc. by leveraging the Ning platform. It lets users take any site created on Ning and quickly “clone” it to create their own customized version of one of those sites for their own community of interest.

    Bunchball lets Flash developers quickly create multi-player networked games (and other social apps).

    On Ning you build a website where people can share pictures of their pets (http://pets.ning.com/). On Bunchball you build a Texas Hold’em Poker game that people can play with their buddies.

    best, – rajat

  • Gopi

    This companies dont seem too different from the online pet food stores of the late 90’s :)

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