EtherPad, Socialcast and More
Further along the productivity front is EtherPad, which provides real-time collaborative workspaces for editing text. Designed to be more interactive than Google Docs, AppJet says, "EtherPad infrastructure is built to carry your every keystroke at the speed of light, limited only by the time it takes electrons to travel over a wire (such as an 'Ethernet' cable)." This is an improvement over Google Docs, which AppJet claims takes about 5 to 15 seconds for a change to make its way from your keyboard to other people's screens. EtherPad also lets users copy and paste a link without sending e-mails.
Introduced at TechCrunch50 in September, DotSpots makes an annotation Web service that lets consumers annotate news articles and other text content with videos from YouTube or photos from Flickr and links. The software then uses semantic matching technology to distribute each contribution to every instance of that meme across the Web. YouTube contributors, bloggers or just plain citizen journalists can add comments, videos, photos or other content to news stories to offer a more rounded view of an event. Google's Marissa Mayer touted the service at TechCrunch50.
Yes, this is another social recommendation service. Mobspin makes it easy to ask for and share recommendations with your friends across a wide range of topics, such as products, businesses, health, money and travel. Anonymity is the key. The questions, reviews and comments you write can be seen by any other Mobspin user and will eventually be available to the general public as well. However, only people who are "connected" to you, i.e. friends, can see your name or picture attached to what you've written.
Are you a manager in the market for a tool that will help you better connect with your workgroup? Socialcast is a microblogging tool geared for businesses. Yes, it's a bit of Twitter for the enterprise. Socialcast continues to innovate, providing a version for the iPhone that allows users to chat with colleagues while on the go. A new Gmail plug-in works with the Firefox browser and, once downloaded, provides a sidebar of Socialcast activity inside the user's in-box. Socialcast is free for up to five users.
Speaking of iPhone users, the Searchme iPhone app recently hit Apple's App Store. Designed specifically for the iPhone and iPod Touch, Searchme lets users see Web pages without clicking through. Results are presented in a stack of pages that you can flip through or expand with your finger. Once you find what you're looking for, just double tap the screen to open the page. You don't have to wait for them to upload in your browser.