Tuesday, December 27, 2005

TECH: Best Web 2.0 Software of 2005

So many little companies at work trying to build software that is easy to use and useful. I found this great diagram that categorizes many of these companies into application segments. Here is my best of 2005 for “Web 2.0” software. And the award goes to...

1. del.icio.us (Category: Social Bookmarking)

If you want access to your bookmarks anywhere you go along with engaging and satisfying functionality, this is your first stop. Acquired by Yahoo!, which already has a social bookmarking service called My Web 2.0, the exact future of this seminal bookmarking site is now a little up in the air. But del.icio.us remains the best, largest, fastest, and most elegant social bookmarking service on the Web. And because del.icio.us appears to take the Web 2.0 ideas pretty seriously, they provide a nice API for others to build new services on top of. As a consequence of this, and because social bookmarking sites makes everyone's data public, witness the amazing array of add-on services that mash-up or otherwise reuse del.icio.us functionality and content.

2. Voo2do
(Category: Online Todo Lists)

Ever more of the software we use on a daily basis is moving online, from e-mail to feed readers. To-do list managers are no exception. A one person operation run by Shimon Rura, Voo2do uses Ajax sparingly but very effectively to let you create and manage multiple to do lists. With an API available for you to access or export your data with your own programs, support for Joel Spolsky's Painless Software Scheduling method, Voo2do is the embodiment of simple, satisfying software.

3. digg (Category: Peer Production News)

The important Web 2.0 capability digg provides is that it successfully harnesses collective intelligence. All news items listed in digg are supplied by its users which then exert editorial control by clicking on the digg button for each story they like. The home page lists the most popular current stories, all selected by its registered users. And digg's RSS feed has to be one of the most popular on the Web. Digg has been so successful that Wired magazine has even speculated it could bury Slashdot, which also allows users to submit stories, but doesn't let them see what stories were submitted or vote on them.

4. flickr (Category: Image Storage and Sharing)

Also acquired by Yahoo! earlier this year, Flickr is the canonical photo/image sharing site par excellence. Sprinkled with a smattering of just enough Ajax to reduce page loads and make tasks easy, Flickr provides an open API, prepackaged licensing models for your photos, tagging, a variety of community involvement mechanisms, and a vast collection of add-ons and mashups. Flickr is one of the Web 2.0 poster children and for a good reason.

5. openomy
(Category: 3rd Party Online File Storage)

As more and more software moves to the Web, having a secure place for your Web-based software to store files such as documents, media, and other data will become essential. There is a burgeoning group of online file storage services and Openomy is one that I've been watching for a while. With 1Gb of free file storage and an open API for programmatic access to your tag-based Openomy file system, and you have the raw ingredients for secure online storage of your documents wherever you go. There is even a Ruby-binding for the API. Expect lots of growth in this space going forward, especially as other Web 2.0 applications allow you to plug into your online storage service of choice and the desire also grows to offload personal data backup to professionals.

6. memeorandum (Category: Blog Filters)

Gabe Rivera's Memeorandum service is a relevance engine that unblinkingly monitors the activity in the blogosphere and appears to point out the most important posts of the day with a deftness that is remarkable. The growing attention scarcity caused by the rivers of information we're being subjected to in the modern world needs tools that effectively help us cope with it. Blog filters are just one key example of what the future holds for us. Memeorandum covers both the political and technology blogospheres, and hopefully others in the future.

7. katrinalist.net (Category: Grassroots Use of Web 2.0)

Katrinalist.net remains one of the best examples of grassroots Web 2.0. Katrinalist was an emergent phenomenon that triggered the peer production of vital information in the aftermath of this year's hurricane disaster in New Orleans. In just a handful of days participants created XML data formats, engineered data aggregation from RSS feeds, and harnessed volunteer efforts on-the-fly to compile survivor data from all over the Web. This led to tens of thousands of survivor reports being aggregated into a single database so that people could easily identify and locate survivors from the Katrinalist Web site. A hearty thanks again to David Geilhufe for help making Katrinalist happen.

8. writely (Category: Web-Based Word Processing)

Easy to set-up, fast, free (in beta), and familiar to those with even a passing familiarity to MS word, Writely.com is an effective and easy to use online word processor. With its WSIWYG editor, users can change font and font size, spell check and insert images (up to 2MB). It also uses tagging and version control, both excellent features for any word processor. In addition to being a word processor, Writely.com also serves as a collaboration tool. Users invite others to collaborate on a certain documents via email. Built with an AJAX user interface, it maximizes many of the new features available with Web 2.o.

9. calendarhub (Category: Online Calendars)

Online calendaring is a rapidly growing product category in the Web 2.0 software arena. The fact is that a lack of good, shareable electronic calendars is still a real problem these days. I'm fond of saying that the software world has vast collections of synchronization utilities and integration capabilities, yet it's incredible that we still can't routinely do simple things like keeping our personal, family, and work calendars synchronized.

10. basecamp (Category: Project Management & Team Collaboration)

Web 2.0 has terrific social collaboration models for two-way information exchange like blogs and wikis, open enrichment mechanisms like tagging, ranking, popularity, and organizing techniques like folksonomies. All of these provide a great backdrop for team collaboration and project management. Surprisingly, there aren't many terrific Web 2.0 project management tools. Part of this is because project management tends to be very specific between different types of projects. Fortunately for Web 2.0 companies, this means there isn't a lot of competition from traditional software companies like Microsoft and Primavera, which churn out somewhat mediocre products in the shrinkwrapped software space. This is why Basecamp is such a pleasant surprise. It's an excellent team-based project management tool.


Mind Valley said...

Why did you recommend del.icio.us over www.blinklist.com? Perhaps you are not aware of our relatively new service. If you are, I would love to hear your thoughts. We have been getting rave reviews from our users lately so I thought that you might like to check out our site.


Anonymous said...

Interesting thought on that one. I think I heard something similar the other day on another board. I can't remember where though. Web 2.0

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Anonymous said...

Hi, good post. I have been pondering this topic,so thanks for sharing. I’ll likely be coming back to your posts. Keep up the good work
You nicely summed up the issue. I would add that this doesn’t exactly concenplate often. xD Anyway, good post…


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