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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

4 New Israeli-based Startups You May Not Have Heard Of

It always feels good to be able to tell the rest of the world about the latest web/mobile applications from Israel, and I feel privileged to be able to do so. Since I live here, I often times meet with new (and old) companies, listen to their story, and test their services. I can't say that I'm impressed with each and every one of them but I do think that Israel is one bad-ass place to find new innovation compared to other places in the world.

Let me introduce you to some of the newest, hottest Israeli companies that launched or will launch this year:

Libox is a desktop client that completely synchronizes with the web to allow you easy and free media-sharing with friends and family anytime, anywhere. When you create a Libox account you can import all the media that's stored on your computer and view it on Libox. Once you import your contact list from your favorite email platform, you will be able to share media in its original quality and resolution with people whom you've invited. Libox also offers group sharing and chat with friends, both from the desktop & the web.

It's important to say that Libox doesn’t upload your files to the “Cloud.” If you share some media with some friends, Libox creates a private secure network on those specific files with those specific friends, NO one will have access to media you haven’t shared with them - so it's all very private and convenient. Since Libox does not store your files, there's no limitation on the file size or the amount you share - Libox is both free and unlimited.

I've been using Libox for a few months now and I found its
performances to be very impressive; it doesn't take a lot resources from my computer, it's surprisingly fast, and most importantly, it saves the original file format, which makes it worth use. Its UI however, is a lack of inspiration and rough on the edges... but I have to admit that it's also very easy to understand and use maybe this is why its design is so simple (or too simple).

Significal opens a new gateway for interaction between users and "time-related" businesses, by giving them a smart, simple, automated and interactive way to manage not only their time but also their tasks and events. In doing so, users maintain full control over their life in one centralized platform - their electronic calendar (web/desktop/mobile). This benefits both sides; "time-related" businesses are more aware of their customers' actions thereby opening up a new marketing medium and enabling a better direct to customer approach. Concurrently, users keep up-to-date with any updates or new opportunities that match their lifestyle.

Significal's goal is to create as many as partnerships with businesses & enterprises to enable them access into the end users' calendar (via their site or plugins). For businesses: it will give exposure and offers an innovative way to promote themselves further. When it comes to the users, this may change their lifestyle, because they can actually interact with businesses regarding daily activities (bank, phone-bill, flight, etc.,) from within their web/desktop calendar.

Waze is a downlodable social mobile application that allow drivers with mobile+GPS enabled to build and use real-time road intelligence on what's ahead, what to avoid and the quickest routes at any given moment.

How does it work: The users needs to click on a few buttons on the software to send their update into Waze. No voice needed (but in my opinion, that actually could help while driving). The service includes constantly updated routes and delivers traffic and accident alerts plus data from people who have downloaded the Waze application.

Map and traffic updates are automatically collected and generated as users drive with Waze. Drivers can also actively report and update others on what's happening along their route, including accidents, police traps, weather hazards, cheap gas offers, and more.

Waze recently launched at DEMO09 - Here is their presentation:

First a disclaimer: I recently started to work as a consultant at Dropico.
Instead of uploading media to all of the various social networks, Dropico allows users to drag & drop photos across different social networks. Meaning, you can drag files from Facebook to Myspace, or from Flickr to Picasa without the upload time hassle - Simple as that!

Dropico is a platform which makes it easy to organize existing media in one visual layout. Without registration, the user can log in to the supported services: Facebook, Twitter (TwitPic, yfrog & twitgo) Myspace, Flickr, Picasa, Bebo etc., and see all the organized albums & files at one glance. Users will be able to reorganize the files in new albums and drag & drop them to any of the supported services in order to create a new album. Files can be uploaded from a computer as well and quickly be copied to each service from the supported list in the site.

Additionally, Dropico also offers a tool for bloggers (a simple JS code) that enables readers to distribute pictures to each of Dropico's supported services.

All of these features coming soon too:
  • Dropico Photo submit bar – add to your blog/website a photo submission bar for posting photos directly to dropico's supported services (supporting: wordpress, blogger).
  • Dropico Facebook application – use Dropico on facebook.
  • Photo Edit (picnik like), edit & save photos on the fly.
  • Dropico Client – download a simple Dropico application and connect Dropico to your desktop/external devices.
  • Dropico Backup Service – backup your media from all service to Dropico servers (amazon s3) in 1 click.
  • Mail to Dropico – drag & drop photos from your favorite email service (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo mail) to Dropico's supported services.
  • iPhone application – allowing to transfer/view your media.
Here are some invitations to test Dropico - grab them while you can (beta)


posted by Unknown at 8:24 PM 1 comments


Friday, September 25, 2009

Portrait in Motion

I bumped into this awesome site through Dave Morin Facebook, and was blown away by its performance! Unfortunately, there's not enough information about the technology used in there wonderful demo.

What I can tell you though is that it's called Motion-Portrait, and it's basically generates a single photo to three-dimensional model (in less than a min). Its unique technology can automatically produce a variety of animated facial expressions.

Want to try it yourself? Click on the 'Change!' button, upload your photo (face should be in center), and wait for the miracle to happen!

I created a quick Demo (this is the pictures I used):
posted by Unknown at 4:46 PM 0 comments


Friday, September 18, 2009

Keep an Eye on DailyBooth

I've been using DailyBooth only for a month or so but already I'm a huge fan! The site is just brilliant, really. It is very similar to the "one picture a day" concept - meaning: snap (or upload) one picture everyday, and share it with the rest of the world. What so great about it is that people are actually engaging in conversations based on a singular image alone. Moreover, there is this strong mimicry culture evolving at the site that is pretty interesting to follow and participate in.

What I also like is the site's design and usability - It's very easy to utilize all the features, and the user interface is clean and understandable. It still not perfect but it's getting there. Right now, I feel like it is missing two important features: 1. Friends finder, 2. Friends importer from other networks. But, on the other hand, it has such a great options in the settings that I really believe it's just gonna get better over time, and those two missing features will be added soon (hopefully).

You can use DailyBooth from the web, via email, or mobile phone to upload pictures to your DailyBooth account. It's also possible to send your pictures via twitter the minute you upload them (it would be nice to get this feature on Facebook too).

Overall, if I had to predict this site's future, where's my crystal ball... I'd say it's a promising one!

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posted by Unknown at 8:47 PM 2 comments


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Digitize & Edit your Home Movies

Pixorial lets you view, label and organize your video content all in one place - your own password-protected digital video library on the web. You can upload your homemade videos and edit them from your browser. Pixorial supports almost any type of video file.

What exactly can you edit? Not much I'm afraid... Right now, Pixorial allows you to cut the down movie by scene, add transitions, and display titles. Effects are coming soon, according to the site. But as far as other related web-services, I'd say, it's actually not bad at all - and most of it is free.

The free version, allows you to upload up to 10GB total, where you can edit, remix and create shows, and share videos in high resolution. However, the movie will stay online for only 60 days. For all the above plus unlimited storage time & uploads, you'll have to pay $24.99/year - which seems to me like a very fair price.

There are some other goodies such as download in hi-res, order a DVD, and more - All at prices that won't hurt your wallet.

Here's a quick example:

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posted by Unknown at 10:14 PM 2 comments