Internet Command Line @ YubNub

Posted in TechCrunch, Web 2.0, YubNub on June 13th, 2005

Company: YubNub



What is it?

At first glance this looks sort of like a search engine or something, but its not. It is way neater than that. YubNub is a “command line for the web” and was built with Ruby on Rails. What this means is that you can access web applications (like google, amazon, and everything else) via the command box on YubNub’s website. A command consists of at least two pieces of information - an application identifier and a specific command.

For instance, if you type in “flkall ireland”, YubNub will redirect you to the flickr website and show pictures with the tag “ireland”.

There are a ton of commands available and functionality to create new ones directly by users.

You can also use YubHub as a Firefox extension and other ways.

Favorite Commands:

flkall - shows flickr phots with all tags entered
GMT - find local time and date in entered location
mini - turn a long URL into a short one using minilink.org
pod - search for podcasts on Podcast Alley.
quote - get a stock quote, just enter the symbol
say - to “say” everything entered after “say” Example
An alias for “tts”
areacode - Lookup a city by area code. US only. Thx Verizon.
jobs - Performs a search at Indeed.com for available jobs that include the keywords provided.
For a current list of all commands, click here

Screen Shot:



Founder:

Jonathan Aquino

Relevant Links:

Jonathan Aquino’s Blog

Gataga - Social Bookmarking Search Engine

Posted in TechCrunch, Web 2.0, Gataga on June 13th, 2005

Company: Gataga

What is it?

Gataga is a social bookmarking search engine. As of today, it indexes bookmarks from del.icio.us, blogmarks, blinklist, jots, spurl, furl, simpy and connotea. They added furl, simpy, spurl and connotea literally overnight at the request of Alexandra Samuel at You’re It!. Alexandra also suggested RSS feeds for search results, and they have added those today as well.

There is a “Sherpa” option that acts like the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button at Google. It needs some work to become useful - although typing in “techcrunch” and hitting the Sherpa button brough us right to where we wanted to go.

Searches can be made by keywords or tags (both shown below). The fact that they are including most tagging data sources as well as the search result RSS feeds make this a compelling and useful site if you are interested in searching through socially-tagged URIs. We will use it regularly.

Screen Shots:



Relevantl Links:

You’re It! Post #1
You’re It! Post #2
Scoble on Gataga

Google Reviews

Posted in TechCrunch, Web 2.0, Google on June 12th, 2005

Company: Google (Reviews)

What is it?

There’s not much on the web about this yet, but Google is apparently looking at the reviews space and has put a very light experiment up on their site. I say “light” because the only product reviews they have up as of today are for Star Wars III.

It looks like the first post on Google Reviews was by Photo Matt in a post dated May 9, 2005. Marc Canter spoke up today on the subject here.

Reviews are a very interesting space. People use their blogs often to review books, movies, music, restaurants, and just about everything else out there that we interact with. It’s an obvious area to aggregate and network.

Bob Wyman (see also structuredblogging) (the CTO of PubSub), has created a structured blogging plugin for Wordpress for reviews (and also events) that is excellent and that I use at my personal blog. And Technorati is also pushing its open source hReviews initiative. Finally, there is a rudimentary blog review aggregator at blogcritics.org.

Anyway, it is what it is and the space is worth watching. A lot of Google’s moves seem to be placing it squarely in the middle of web 2.0.

Screen Shot:

Relevant Links:

RDF Reviews Post
hReviews

BackPack showcases Rails & AJAX

Posted in TechCrunch, Web 2.0, BackPack on June 12th, 2005

Company: BackPack

What is it?

BackPack launched in early May 2005, and it is one of the defining web 2.0 applications.

BackPack does one thing very, very well - organize your personal information online. It has a basic package that is free, and it is one of the first applications built on AJAX and Ruby on Rails. If you aren’t familiar with these development platforms, all you need to know is that data transfers and page updates occur without submitting and refreshing, it is lightning fast and there are NO client downloads to deal with. BackPack is a perfect use of these emerging development technologies. To understand how this technology kicks web 1.0 in the pants, just compare it to Microsoft’s One Note (which I used for about 10 minutes before never opening again).

At its core BackPack is an information management tool. It is one of the showcase applications created by 37 Signals, along with Basecamp (”Project Management Utopia”) and Ta-Da Lists (”Make Lists and Get Stuff Done”).

In their own words, ““We call it useful” Some have called Backpack “a wiki with out the wacky.” Others have called it “blogish.” Others have said it’s a project management tool for all the little things in your life. Some say it’s a application that helps you get things done. Some have called it Basecamp’s little brother. Call it what you will. We call it useful and hope you do too.
Last but most: Clear, Simple, and Fast. At the heart of Backpack is simplicity and clarity. Things work the way you’d expect them to work. Everything complex has been tossed so the tool is simple to the core. In fact, nothing takes more than a few seconds. Our “Ajaxed” interface elements eliminate reloading hassles. Backpack gives you the benefit of the web (centralized access, no install, no IT nightmares) without the downsides of the web (reloads, slowdowns, poor interfaces). Information management on the web has finally been realized. Backpack it.�?

There are a number of suggested uses, with screenshots here . In our opinion, the key uses are to create pages of to do lists, planning for trips or events, taking and updating notes on products, etc. The great thing about it is how easy it is to create a new page, and add text and files, including images. You can share those pages with friends or the whole world. After you create pages, you can group them in any way you think is appropriate. There are no mandatory fields, complex multi-step processes, or specialized “buckets” for data.

Pricing: A basic account is free. Upgraded accounts have a monthly fee of $5, $9, or $19 (see the last screen shot below) (more $ = more storage and more reminders). You need at least the $5/month option to get some file storage space.

Features:

- Home page to easily manage all sub-pages
- Easy to make new pages
- Easy to add content to a page – links, notes, files, images, etc.
- Set reminder feature, with reminders via email, sms or RSS
- Tagging of pages
- Sharing of pages (public or just friends)
- email pages
- email data to a page (like posting a picture to flickr with a cameraphone)

Screen Shots:




Relevant Links:

BackPack Blog
Reviews of BackPack (on a BackPack page!)
Om Malik on BackPack
37 signals “signal v. noise blog”
Blog Launch Post
SearchViews Post

Plazes gets traction at Reboot 7.0

Posted in TechCrunch, Web 2.0, Plazes on June 11th, 2005

Company: Plazes

What is it?

Plazes made an announcement at Reboot 7.0 in Copenhagen on June 10, 2005, although the service has been around since at least January.

In their own words, “Plazes is the first global location-aware interaction and geo-information system, connecting you with the people and Plazes in your area and all over the world. It is the navigation system for your social life and it’s absolutely free.”

To gain full functionality, you must install a 1.11 mb file on your computer. I did this, and it had trouble syncing with my router. I’m not surprised, since my internet connection is down and I am currently “borrowing” wifi from one of my neighbors. Anyway, I was able to logon and create my very own plaze in Manhattan Beach, California (see the third screen shot below).

This is a very useful application, and I can see using it to find friends and meet new people. The design is well thought out and the social networking tools are as good as we’ve seen.

As their blog indicates, the product is still in beta mode and functionality is being added continuously.

Service Features:

- Discover Plazes anywhere in the world - like hotspots, restaurants, offices, based on search or your current location.

- Hook up with people nearby - see people (and their “metadata”) who are online and near a “plaze”. Message with them.

- Stay in touch with your friends - Plazes has social networking tools like invite, messaging, status, karma etc. Friends can see your currentl location (or keep yourself invisible)

Screen Shots:



People Involved:

Felix Petersen
Stefan

Relevant Links:

What’s Plazes?
Plazes FAQs
Plazes Blog
Felix Petersen Blog
Plazes Merchandise :-)
Robert Scoble on Plazes
Christian Heindel on Plazes

Get in Line to Test FeedLounge

Posted in TechCrunch, Web 2.0, FeedLounge on June 11th, 2005

Company: FeedLounge



What is it?

The FeedLounge web-based RSS reader alpha was announced on June 9, 2005. Feedlounge is the newest entrant into the increasingly crowded RSS Reader space. Feedlounge is web-based, like Bloglines, Pluck, Kinja and Rojo, and has tagging (both feeds and posts), saving items indefinitely, and flagging items.

Scott Sanders, one of the founders, writes in his blog that he created FeedLounge as a web-based application because he works from many different machines. Their goal was to create a thin-client-like experience, and the early alpha testers are coming back with very positive reviews:

“FeedLounge often feels much more like a desktop application than a web page. Clever combinations of Ajax and CSS add a ton of “hey wow” moments when using the system. As with Alex’s other works, the user interface is clean and easy to navigate.”

Key Features:

- choice of layouts
- useful keyboard shortcuts
- OPML import support (export support later)
- Tagging (both of feeds and posts)
- Works only with Firefox, by design (a plus in TechCrunch’s view)

Screen Shots:





Management:

Alex King
Scott Sanders

Relevant Links:

About FeedLounge
FeedLounge Blog
Dougal Campbell Review of FeedLounge
TechBlog Post on FeedLounge
Alex King Blog
Scott Sanders Blog
List of web-based RSS Readers

Technorati - New & Improved!

Posted in TechCrunch, Web 2.0, Technorati on June 11th, 2005

Company: Technorati (Public Beta Redesign)

What is it?

Technorati is Web 2.0 “old school” – one of the original (and best) real-time search engines. It requested customer feedback and has used it to launch an extensive redesign of their site as a public beta. The original site is still up at www.technorati.com and the beta, for now, is at beta.technorati.com. Technorati claims to be indexing 800,000 + new posts daily, which is in line with competitor estimates of the size of the blogosphere.

Technorati helped to increase the popularity of leveraging blog site metadata by allowing tag (or category) searches in their engine. By searching via tags, users can find content specifically tagged by the publisher (for now) under certain categories.

The Technorati 100 is the definitive list of popular bloggers on the web.

The new UI has several key upgrades:

- Simplified Interface
- RSS feeds for tag searches
- Tag searches return indexed results plus flickr, furl, delicious, and buzznet
- More homepage personalization – including watchlists, claimed blogs and profile information
- New Watchlist functionality

Screen Shots:

Management:

David L. Sifry -Founder and CEO
Adam Hertz - Vice President of Engineering
Joi Ito -Vice President of International Business and Mobile Devices
Teresa Malo - Chief Financial Officer
Richard Ault - Director of Product Marketing
Liz Westover - Director of Developer Relations
Tantek Çelik - Senior Technologist

Board of Directors:

David L. Sifry
Kim Polese
Andreas Stavropoulous
Ryan McIntyre
Dan Beldy

Relevant Links:

About Technorati
Press
Dave Sifry (founder and CEO of Technorati) blog post on the beta release

About TechCrunch

Posted in TechCrunch, Web 2.0 on June 11th, 2005

TechCrunch is a weblog dedicated to obsessively profiling and reviewing every newly launched web 2.0 business and service. In addition to new companies, we will profile existing companies that are making an impact (commercial and/or cultural) on the web 2.0 space.

TechCrunch is edited by Michael Arrington and Keith Teare, with frequent input from guest editors. It is part of the Archimedes Ventures network of companies.

What is “web 2.0″? There are entire websites dedicated to trying to define it in a succinctly. For instance, here is Wikipedia’s entry on web 2.0. At Archimedes, we think of web 2.0 as the inevitable evolution of the web from a read-mostly medium to a read-write, or two-way medium (think geocities v. weblogs). Web 1.0 was static html pages. Web 2.0 is dynamic and interactive, and more fully exploits network effects. Web2.0 applications leverage key new web application frameworks like Ruby on Rails and AJAX.

We are seeing the separation of content from its old forms. Text is no longer necessarily embedded in a web page, it can be syndicated through RSS or ATOM. Audio is no longer tied to the Radio network. It can be Podcast or streamed or downloaded. TV shows are no longer necessarily tied to TV Networks. They can be delivered on demand across IP networks. And so on.

These trends throw many business models into question. New companies are being created to leverage these trends. We will profile them here.

Like all good web 2.0 services, this site will be a two-way communications medium. Comments, trackbacks and other feedback will be welcome. We will distribute this content in every way our readers want it – our website, RSS, Atom, email, and other web 2.0 distribution mechanisms that companies that we profile will think up!

If you’d like to contact TechCrunch with suggestions, comments, corrections, errors or new company announcements, please email us at editor@techcrunch.com.