Yesterday, we reported the hightlights of the latest DEMO conference, writing stories about the most significant technologies being announced.
They included ThePudding.com (our coverage), MyQuire (our coverage), Tubes (our coverage), Glam’s Digg feature (our coverage), Fluid Innovation (our coverage), CashView (our coverage), Vyro-Games (our coverage), LiveMocha (our coverage) and MetaRadar (our coverage) and more (our coverage).
Here’s a review of a few other companies and technologies that we didn’t get to, but which are worth a mention: 360Desktop, MuseStorm, DimDim, YourTrumanShow and Shoutlet.
360Desktop — The Australian company wants to expand your desktop view. It produces a 360° panorama out of the base screen, so that if you direct your cursor to screen edge, your screen backdrop turns with it, and keeps turning — giving you much more space to store your icons and other windows open at one time (see image at left). This may not sound like much at first — but the desktop is a valuable piece of computer “real estate” that nobody has yet figured out how to monetize. 360Desktop is the latest attempt to do so. Their program starts by offering you a 360 degree picture as wallpaper. The added space provides ample room for the numerous open windows and icons that vie for space on the average person’s desktop. There’s also enough room for banks of widgets to be installed — miniature webpages that load up say, today’s version of the New York Times or a current weather forecast.
Although the 360Desktop will continue to function normally while users are offline, it’s the online time that’s valuable. One way for it to make money is to give let say, a car company create customized desktops that include advertising. The risk, of course, is that users will balk at having even subtle advertising invade their desktop. Those wary users will be able to build their own, without advertising. 360Desktop is launching into closed beta testing now, and founder Evan Jones plans to move the company to the U.S. in the coming months, taking on an investment from a local venture capitalist in the process. The Australian variety, he notes, “just don’t understand.”
MuseStorm — The Israeli company produces web widgets, which are tiny self-contained web pages that can be seeded around the internet. MuseStorm’s focus is on giving advanced analytics functionality to publishers, thus allowing close tracking of how web surfers interact with the widgets they see. Since we last wrote about the company in July, they’ve been hinting of more to come. The new version allows widget customization, produces automatic embed code for them to be placed on social networks, and advertising. The most unique feature, however, is “interaction metrics,” which allow publishers to see detailed reports of exactly how surfers used their widgets — for example, rolling their mouse pointer over a headline or scrolling through content.
MuseStorm is the only widget platform we know of that gives its users such close oversight of their widgets, although we expect their competitors to catch up quickly. After all, there’s real money flowing into the space. 3Guppies, a Seattle mobile-blogging company, launched yesterday, saying it has $20 million in venture capital from VantagePoint Venture Partners; their service uses a widget to connect to social networks through a user’s mobile phone, allowing them to check on and update their social networks.
DimDim –This is an open-source replacement for WebEx we wrote about earlier this year. Started by Deb Dutta Ganguly, who sold his company Advanced Internet Management back in 2001, the video meeting service is finally launching its free service at DEMOfall. Like other web meeting software, DimDim can be used for broadcasting live video to hundreds or thousands of people simultaneously. However, according to Ganguly, it’s the only one that doesn’t require any sort of installation by the user to run. The team has spent the months since our last mention working on time lag, so that if you’re in the U.S. having a meeting with someone in China, the difference isn’t notable. The feature list is heavily dependent on what the service’s lead users have so far requested; Ganguly says that open source is all about accepting the innovations of users. And, since DimDim is open source, it will be free for anyone to run.
DimDim wants to make money from clients needing assistance with larger applications — for instance, a university wishing to hold a live meeting for a class of several hundred students. The company will also provide hosting for meetings, starting at about $99 a year for the service, with dynamic scaling provided by Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud. WebEx, by comparison, charges $39 per month, making DimDim a serious threat to its business.
YourTrumanShow — This company launched a few months ago as a place to upload video diaries today launches VideoMap, a fun widget that lets you use video as a means for exploring and expanding your social network.
Take a look at this screen shot:
The widget creates a clear and easily navigable map of your social network with you at the center and your friends as nodes. Clicking on one of your friends will extend a map of their friends, and so on. VideoMap scrapes the videos that your friends (and their friends) have uploaded, and when you click on any of these people, you can browse through their videos and play them without leaving the widget.
In an alternative mode, seen in the screenshot below, the videos themselves become the nodes. Again, you start at the center but it’s your uploaded videos that surround you. Now, when you click on a video, the widget displays other VideoMap users that have uploaded the same video. Clicking on these people will let you explore their videos, instead of their friends. It’s an innovative way to find others who share your interests and discover new content at the same time.
YourTrumanShow still holds out hope of becoming a destination site, and will so launch a celebrity-diary series in pursuit of that goal.
Shoutlet — Produced by Sway, a Chicago company, Shoutlet is a tool that allows users to distribute content across multiple media (RSS feeds, podcasts, SMS texting and widgets) and track results in real time. It’s designed for marketers and PR professionals. BuzzLogic, another company we’ve written about, allows marketers to assess the influence of blogs and their communities, but does not offer the sort of distribution that Shoutlet does.