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Saturday, June 28, 2008

If Britney Spears Twittered...

Recently, I wrote a post in Hebrew about Israeli news portals and how they are still far behind in terms of technology and web 2.0 features. I noted that it is their responsibility to teach mainstream users about the new web in order to help them understand that there are better ways communicate and to make their users' lives easier, especially during daily browsing sessions. For example: there isn't a single Israeli news site that allow its users to watch videos with a flash player experience. Users are required to download an activeX plug-in for Microsoft Windows Media Player. I'm sure they go along without complaint because they simply don't know there are other options that don't require extra work.

Who should really bring old media users to use web 2.0 services or at least bring them understand that something has changed on the web and they need to move on with it? In my opinion, major news sites, celebs and musicians have the potential to play leaders in this forefront.

News Sites

News services were actually the first to notice the necessity of having a site that includes; blogs, sharing features, cleaner layouts and overall, the necessity of offering better user experiences. In Israel, it's unfortunate that not only does the news stress you severely, but their site interface stresses you even more... hopefully this will change soon, because we've started to see the dawning of a new approach.

Examples of services that have made a bold decision and changed completely include: USA Yoday and BBC. But these giants are not alone, all the big US newspapers have added some tools too or changed their sites to offer a more social approach to news consumption. One of the cleverest ideas that I've seen lately, came from MSNBC news. They released a whole new page, full of interactive widgets, games and other goodies that allows users to read the news the way it suits them as individuals while bringing them together as a community. If you haven't tried it yet, I recommend you start here.


Seven months ago, Oprah Winfrey released a video message on Youtube announcing her new Youtube video channel, where users are able to watch exclusive videos (some of them made by Oprah herself). Over 1,767,724 people watched this video alone, 1,276,854 viewed this channel in general, and 35,501 people subscribed to this channel. Now, I maybe taking a wild guess here but it's more than probable that more than 50 percent of these viewers didn't know about YouTube to begin with but Oprah brought them there. Before Oprah opened the channel she explained (on a whole show) the YouTube phenomena. For us web geeks, it's a trivial commonplace thing, but not for the rest of the world some people still don't use the web, nevermind youtube. The cool thing about Oprah is that she keeps on discussing YouTube every now and then on her show, and I'm sure that every time she mentions YouTube, more people try out the service. Unfortunately, Oprah's channel looks better than the site itself, which SURELY NEEDS a redesign badly.

Speaking of YouTube, I'm a fan of Boston Legal, and they mention YouTube as a video service on the show not only once in a while but constantly! I'm sure this helps to bring more users over from old media into the new fold.

Another example, (again YouTube): Celeb Jessica Alba taking part of a stare game: 4,611,461 users watched this video! The video was posted on YouTube but the game took place at 'ibeatyou' which is web 2.0 service for people who like challenging other people. I was doing a little research and noticed that most of Jessica Alba's web pages, (those that don't have anything to do with the new web, not in the design nor in its features) are linked to this YouTube video. As a result, more users are exposed to web 2.0 world. Needless to say, the site itself got huge traffic.


Finally, we examine musicians and their part in this movement. Musicians have always played a key role in cultural revolution and they do so on the web as well. We've seen a new web trend from some of the coolest artists around, where they allows fans to freely download a whole new album, or a song, just as it releases with no strings attached (pardon the pun). This is definitely a new approach when it's come to music and legality on the web. I can think of at least three musicians who have done this with their music: Radiohead, Coldplay, and the fabulous Nine Inch Nails.

However, only Coldplay seem to take this a little bit farther by launching a new site that features web 2.0 elements (it still however needs further refinement, if you ask me...). Yet overall, it looks like Coldplay hired someone who knows a few things about the modern web. On their new site, you'll find links to a Facebook page, a YouTube Channel, a Myspace account, and you can listen to most of their new album from their very nifty widget player:

To bring it full circle, if Britney Spears opened a Twitter account;
  1. She would be very upset to find out that this name is already taken,
  2. Perhaps, people would not think she was so...crazy. She's a twitterer, just like you and me.
  3. But seriously, she could really influence tons and tons of users to try the service.
It is just an example of course, but my point is that celebs, musicians and newspapers are all major players that people trust and follow, and would definitely emulate in terms of web trends.

Hopefully, more old media users will soon come to understand that they can do more than just passively read and listen or search on the web. There's so much more out there on the net. It's just waiting to be discovered and explored. It's the new frontier.
posted by Unknown at 4:18 AM 0 comments


Friday, June 27, 2008

Track Twitter and FriendFeed from the Same Page

Finally you don't need to choose whether to use Twitter or FriendFeed, because Gridjit lets you check on them both from a single service.

Gridjit simply lets you see your social life in a better view. Currently the service supports only Twitter and FriendFeed (gladly I can say that for me it's enough). Users can easily switch from one service to another, drag & drop updates on the page, comment & like from Gridjit page, and publish an update to both services at once.

FriendFeed users can track their submitted updates in a snap, see who commented etc, or check on their friends content. The wider view (shape as a grid), is much more easy to absorb than the list view in FriendFeed, unfortunately 'what you see is what you get' because there's not an option to move to a previous page.

Twitter page in Gridjit is less impressive because you can only see the updates. You can't see the time of the update which is very important in most cases, nor to reply if needed.

Gridjit is still in Alpha stage and so far I like it already. However, I really hope the team will work on a better twitter support, because frankly I waited for a service like this, and it can easily turn to be one of my favorite this year. You may feel the same after you'll give it a try.

I have 100 invites to test Gridjit - Just use this code: 414f244
posted by Unknown at 6:50 PM 3 comments


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Music that Matches your Mood

Rockola.fm allows you to choose music by your current mood. Easily browse through mood colors, song decades, track name and tags. Rockola.fm learns your tastes and gives you more and more music each time you pick a song.

Registered user can listen to music without a time limit, add tags and save favorite stations. You can also share a station with friends by email.

(translation to English)

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posted by Unknown at 10:42 AM 4 comments


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Go get your Wallowr on AIR!

Wallowr is a web-application that stream activities from your favorite social sites, same as on FriendFeed and SocialThings. However, Wallowr has some nifty tools to make this product even greater. One is the iPhone application.

The other is Wallowr AIR.
An application that aggregates a variety of social networking tools into one simple spot. When you log into Wallowr, you get all your friends news and updates from services like Digg, Reddit, Youtube etc,. Additionally, Wallowr allows users to send pictures and, video files to friends by simply drag & drop them to Wallowr platform.

What interesting is that Wallowr built by a bunch of talented students. The guys already won a technology contest at the University of Missouri for designing a product that blends social networking with news shearing. Their full story - here.

Go2 Download | Watch the Demo:
posted by Unknown at 7:56 PM 0 comments


Monday, June 23, 2008

Klinkr - A Plazes Client based on AIR

If you're one of Plazes fan, you must be very happy with the latest news saying they've been acquired by Nokia. Plazes lets you and your friends update each other about what you are doing, when and where. It may sound like a Twitter description to you, and you know what? I actually think it is very similar. Same idea over a different layout, with different features & activities. But let's not forget it was born way before Twitter, so kudos to the guys on Plazes for the wonderful news.

So today is a good time to introduce you to Klinkr, a new Plazes desktop client based on Adobe AIR platform. Klinkr simply shows you where are your Plazes contacts now, and what are they doing. You can also see them on a Google map. If you use Plazes on a daily basis, Klinkr may assist you to get updates faster.

Picture powered by Flickr - reinvented.

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posted by Unknown at 11:46 AM 0 comments


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Send your Twitter Friends Cool Gifts

Hiimok is a new service that enables you to send gifts to your Twitter friends via your public feed.
No need to create new account, just use your Twitter username & password, and start send gifts to your friends. (unfortunately not so many icons/gifts to choose from, but I guess this list will grow soon)

Upcoming Features include; Anonymous & Direct Message Gifting as well as an iPhone Friendly Interface.
posted by Unknown at 11:37 PM 0 comments


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

SoundCloud - Now with Embedding Player Feature

I'm wasting so much time on SoundCloud lately, enjoying cool music made by really talented people. Yesterday SoundCloud added the ability to share music outside of the service and onto Facebook, sites or blogs. So now you may try some of the experience at this wonderful site - Click on the members images to see the comments behavior.

Still invitations only, but this may be the reason the content stays original, and the community stays relevant.

2 of my favorites:

posted by Unknown at 6:40 PM 0 comments


Monday, June 16, 2008

Online Page by Page Previews of Children Books

I bumped into this great book services today and thought this might interest you, especially if you are a parent. Lookybook allows you to look at picture books in their entirety - from cover to cover, at your own pace.

The list of books is absolutely incredible! Currently there are over 300 books at LookyBook library that you can search through author/illustrator or subject/genre.

Every book can be reviewed, rated, shared and put on your Bookshelf. The Bookshelf is a place where you can collect and share your favorite books with members of LookyBook's community. Whenever you look at a book, LookyBook will provide a collection of other relevant books that you might enjoy at the left of the page. This way you can be sure you'll discover books that you never knew existed.

Unfortunately, the player, (not just here, but at the site as well), is too small. Some of the books are not readable. (but this is the only 'unfortunately' you'll hear from me about this site)

It's not fair! - Written by Anita Harper | Illustrated by Mary McQuillan | 32 pages | Ages 2-5

Clearly LookyBok is not coming to replace the magic of reading a book with your child at bedtime, but can reduce the frustrating process of finding the right books for your kids.

Wonderful site overall.

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posted by Unknown at 2:15 PM 0 comments


Sunday, June 15, 2008

First Look at SoundCloud - WOW!

UPDATE: 50 SoundCloud Invitations - Grab yours now! http://soundcloud.com/guestlist/gotoweb20 (all gone. sorry)

SoundCloud is a new online audio platform for music professionals that makes sending & receiving music simple and efficient.

Let me start by saying this: you are not allowed to upload music that you don't have the right to share. SoundCloud is a community for people who make music, and people that want to discover new artists by listening to their sound tracks. If you are a musician, SoundCloud enabling you to collaborate, promote & distribute you music. Primarily, SoundCloud provides a efficient and simple way for music professionals to exchange music they are working on in private settings allowing for easy collaboration and communication prior to a public release.

The main concept is to allow music professionals to easily send & receive large music files without cluttering their email box. I haven't test the uploader, but SoundCloud claimed that it is fast and smooth, and set you free from the need to use email, FTP, or services like Yousendit when you want to share your music with friends. For every track you send or receive you can start a conversation at any point in the track by putting in a timed comment anywhere in waveform.

When you upload music, you can embed your track on sites or blog, with the look & feel you want. You can also put a player on your site that will update automatically with the latest tracks you upload to SoundCloud.

My WOW at the title goes to the content I've heard (which was mainly electronic music), and for the great interface SoundCloud has. This is a truly awesome place for people who create music.
posted by Unknown at 5:04 PM 2 comments


PicLens 1.7 Released!

Cooliris just launched PicLens new version with three exciting additions:
  • Shop Amazon -The 3D Wall transformed image search. Allows you to browse product from Amazon and switch to the product page at any given time.
  • Discover - MSNBC, ESPN, movie trailers. Get the latest web's news, photos, and video feeds.
  • Return to PicLens - enables you to easily go back and forward.

Also new FireFox addon with a new look. (support Firefox 3.0 RC1!)

posted by Unknown at 10:53 AM 3 comments


Saturday, June 14, 2008

HelloTxt Added Plurk and Brightkite Support!

Quietly HelloTxt is shaping to be one of the needed services on the web. HelloTxt is a service that allows you to update your status various services, such as Facebook and Twitter (more on the list below), simultaneously and instantaneously.

This is the list of supported social networks & microblogging services on HelloTxt, including Plurk and Brightkite:

Lately HelloTxt also added the ability to send image & video right from your dashboard, and a very new feature: SMS status update. The only thing missing for me right now is a nifty bookmarklet or a FireFox addon that will make it even more easier to send away those updates.
posted by Unknown at 10:06 AM 1 comments


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Testing Google Friend Connect, 1, 2, 3!

Finally, with a little help from Google, I managed to add Google's Friend Connect to my blog.

Basically, Friend Connect is an admin page with several social gadgets that you can customize and embed in your site or blog.

The main goal of this service is to help you gain traffic from friends you already have - who are now connecting to you directly on your site, which make sense. Even visitors are allowed to join in, and invite their friends from familiar social networks:

So what else is on the Google Friend Connect admin page? (I know you want to know) - Actually not so much at the moment... From what I understand (although not verified) you can control more than just one site with it. You can also manage all your visitors from the admin page (i.e., delete, block etc.).

Only a few gadgets from Google itself are offered, but there is a growing section of gadgets built by developers and other companies, so I can only assume that it is going to become something as huge as the iGoogle gallery.

Friend Connect is the one heavily lifted gadget that leverages social functionality on any gadget that's built with Google's Open Social, whether it be on MySpace, 5hi, Orkut etc. You'll be able to embed it on your blog with just a few clicks. BTW, with Friend Connect, you can also give iGoogle Gadget a social boost.

And, then there's the Report section, which at least in my opinion seems to be not especially beneficial data and stats, especially since I only started to use this today. However, I know for a fact that Google is not storing users' data here, like it does on Google Analytics for example, so this will result in less or simpler data.

It is very early to give significant feedback at this stage, but a quick look at my growing list of friends on the widget, definitely ensures me that this Gadget works. I know it's very corny to say this about a Google product: it's simple but smart, but what can I say, it is what it is! Simple and Smart.

*BTW, I know it's a bit slow, and I know about some other bugs, but I'm happy to be an early adopter of this gadget, as long as it won't take my blog down...

Thanks RWW!
posted by Unknown at 6:08 PM 53 comments


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Similar Platform as Enso, only for the Web

Italy-based PodiPodi, is a command line interface for websites inspired by Humanized Enso. Embedding PodiPodi in their sites, web designers can add a new layer of interaction for their users & services such as: Youtube, Google search, Flickr, Yahoo, and more. PodiPodi is embedded in a page as a java-script gadget, but thanks to its unobtrusive architecture it doesn't change the page layout.

Some of the command lines at PodiPodi (press shift+z to give it a test drive):
Shift+Z: Open/Close Podipodi box
ESC: Close Podipodi box and opened services
calculate: calculate the result of a simple mathematical expression.
credits: web site credits
flickr [+terms]: Search pictures on Flickr.
friends: get a list of friend sites
google [+terms]: search the web through Google
google images [+terms]: search images on the web through Google
help: discover available commands on this site.

Full list on PodiPodi's playground.

If you want to have PodiPodi in your site, fill-in this Beta form. You should also know that PodiPodi planning on make this application fully customizable. But as for now they offers two themes, dark and bright to fit every websites.

Watch this interesting Demo:

BTW, I couldn't find anything at the site that says you have to pay in order to place this code in your site. I can only assume this is free...
posted by Unknown at 8:06 PM 0 comments


Digg + Reddit = End of the World

Relax, it's just somebody scribble (creative... huh?):

Scribbls is a new collaborative drawing community that allows you to combine thousands of different drawings to create an infinite number of outcomes.

It's so easy to use, I just had to try it myself:

Users can rate, comment on, and edit other people creations. Unfortunately, I don't see any option to share outside of this application, and there are only 3 colors to choose from...

posted by Unknown at 12:46 PM 2 comments


Monday, June 09, 2008


When Twitter stressing out (a bit?!) I just like to remind myself (and you), why we love this service so much...
posted by Unknown at 6:41 PM 0 comments


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Faster way to Read your Friends Tweets

I love all those little applications that people building from Twitter's API!
A cool one is FLOATwitter which allows you to check your friends last tweets by simply rollover their profile picture.

Go here and enter your username only.
(you don't need to enter your password)

Click on this icon to see more of your friends (when you click on a friend, all his friends displays as well)
Click on this icon to see only your friends

posted by Unknown at 4:55 PM 1 comments


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

It's A Small World After All

If you're a fan of 3D games and virtual world services, then you must try Small Worlds! Lets start with the fact that you won't be asked to download anything to your computer, which is always a good start for me :-)

Small Worlds is a virtual place where you can hang out with your friends on the web.
Go to the site, create your Small Worlds avatar, and customize your own space with Flickr photo frames, Youtube TV's, SeeqPod & Lastfm Radios and more - it's a real fun process overall!
Now all you need to do, is to invite some friends to your personal zone. Small Worlds got some great games for you to enjoy playing together: a cool version of Tower Defense, Pool, Mini Golf, and more - and you can chat while you play. Also, within Small Worlds you'll find specialized rooms to visit with your friends: dance clubs (yes! you can design a dance moves for your avatar), pool halls, art galleries, and more. You could even set one up yourself, or set up something with a friend and invite others to it.

I'm not going to compare this site to 'Second life' or 'There' clients - simply because I don't use them both, but I am sure going to dig deeper to find what else I can do with Small Worlds, as soon as I get some friends in there...

My Room.

More about SmallWorlds on Techcrunch.
posted by Unknown at 12:55 PM 3 comments


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Go2web20 TechBites 06/04/08 - It's all about Israel's High-Tech Industry

From time to time, I like to gather interesting news to one post, for an easy & quick reading - Certainly not something that you can do in 140 characters...

Since I live in Israel, and so much going on here lately, I'd like to dedicate this post to updates and news from Israeli-based startups (or related to Israel), that built for a global audience.

Collarity (based in SF & Israel), aims to improve your website's monetization performance by delivering more relevant site search results and content recommendations - both driven by the anonymous behavior of your website's audience.

Their new feature suggests relevant video content from the search box itself, meaning, you start to write your query, and you get results based on the community choices, or your search behavior:

The unique search engine can be found on MyFox, and Ynet (Hebrew) - but for the video experience, go to Fox on Demand, or Collarity site.
Pixsy already announced partnership with Collarity, but I don't see the video feature in their site yet...

The WeFi software automatically detects and qualifies all WiFi access points within range and connects you to the spot with the best Internet connection.
With the new Twitter mashup, WeFi members can enter their Twitter ID on their profile page, and start getting automatic updated sent to their Twitter feeds whenever they get connected in a new location.

fring 3.35 for Nokia S60 devices is out - Improved stability, made voice quality, added speakerphone for Symbian 9.2 and enabled file transfer from Yahoo and Skype. Get it here: fring download. Also, check fring widget page if you want to share fring mobile with friends.

Pageonce, your personal internet assistant that allows you to manage all your accounts from a single secure site - Now open to the public.

BrainDamage claimed to have built a computer that understands context.
The main product called Noesis, and it's a language independent search engine that emulates natural thinking and is able to understand the idea behind your search question thus find relevant answers only.
Jeff Pulver met with the company in Israel, and was very impressed by their product - You can read the full story on Jeff's blog.

YouFig offers a rich set of features for community owners to manage their own communities and for members to collaborate and network.

The new "Summon all collaborators now" link on the list of collaborators, allows you to summon all offline members of the workspace, letting them know via an email notification that their presence is required at this exact moment in time.

The new Bubbles is desktop client that connects you with your favorite web applications: Flickr, Zoho, Gmail, Facebook, Yahoo!, Netvibes etc., and enables you to get notifications from these sites, to your natural work environment - your desktop.


IncrediMail released a Facebook application called HiYo Wall. It's basically a light version of their new messenger program: HiYo. If you're using any kind of wall it lets you add lots of cool graphics into it (Outside all other wall functionality). Personally, I hate all those annoying Facebook walls, but OK... this one is somewhat cute.

Nana10 is a news portal in Israel (Hebrew only). The reason that I mention the site here, is for the cool music playlist they have published lately, and can be viewed by everyone. Most of the song tracks are in English so you can all enjoy them:
The 80's - The 90's
The cool player powered by MTV Israel and of course based on TVinci technology.
posted by Unknown at 10:52 PM 0 comments


Monday, June 02, 2008

Create Google Talk Chatback Badge in a Snap

I just noticed this little and useful feature powered by Google Talk - Chatback badge. It allows readers to chat with you even if they haven't signed up for Google Talk on their Google Account, or even if they don't have Google Account at all.

Put the badge in your blog or website, and enable people who visit your page, to start a conversation with you (as long as you're online). The badge will display your online status (whether you're available to chat or not) and, optionally, your status message.

If you're looking for an alternative service, try Plugoo - I used it from a long time - it's simply great.
posted by Unknown at 8:22 PM 5 comments