Winners of the 2008 Crunchies

Here are the winners of this year’s Crunchies, which honor the best tech companies from 2008. More than 170,000 people voted to select the nominees, and more than 350,000 people voted to select the winners. The awards were sponsored by TechCrunch, GigaOm, Silicon Alley Insider, and this very blog.

TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld emceed the event in San Francisco’s Herbst Theater (publisher Michael Arrington was feeling under the weather), and he was joined on-stage by some big-name speakers, including Y Combinator’s Paul Graham, Google’s Marissa Mayer, and Microsoft’s Ray Ozzie. Graham urged startups to “be a cockroach” in order to survive the economic nuclear winter, while VentureBeat Editor Matt Marshall asked Mayer what kind of startup she’d be interested in joining today. Mayer denied rumors that she was leaving Google, but said there are opportunities for big breakthroughs in mobile technology and new ways to interact with computers.

The audience got a musical overview of the year in tech from a capella singers The Richter Scales, and watched short videos produced by 1938 Media.

And here are the nominees, with the winners highlighted:

Best application or service
Get Satisfaction
Google Reader (winner)
Minted
Meebo
MySpace Music (runner-up)
Yelp

Best technology innovation or achievement
Facebook Connect (runner-up)
Google Friend Connect
Google Chrome
Windows Live Mesh (winner)
Swype
Yahoo BOSS

Best design
Animoto (runner-up)
Cooliris (winner)
Friendfeed
Infectious
Lala
Sliderocket

Best bootstrapped startup
BackType
GitHub (winner)
Socialcast
StatSheet
12seconds.tv (runner-up)

Most likely to make the world a better place
Akoha
Causes
CO2Stats
GoodGuide (winner)
Kiva (runner-up)
Better Place

Best enterprise
Amazon Web Services (winner)
Force.com
Google App Engine (runner-up)
Yammer
Zoho

Best international
eBuddy (winner)
Fotonauts
OpenX
Vente-privee
Wuala (runner-up)

Best cleantech
Better Place (runner-up)
Boston Power
ElectraDrive
Laurus Energy
Project Frog (winner)

Best new gadget/device
Android G1 (runner-up)
Ausus EEE 1000 Series
Flip MinoHD
iPhone 3G (winner)
SlingCatcher

Best time sink site or application
Mob Wars
iBowl
Tap Tap Revenge (winner)
Zivity
Texas Hold Em (runner-up)

Best mobile startup
ChaCha (runner-up)
Evernote (winner)
Posterous
Qik Skyfire
Truphone

Best mobile app
Google Mobile Application (runner-up)
imeem mobile (winner)
Pandora Radio
rolando
ShopSavvy
Ocarina

Best startup founder
Linda Avery and Anne Wojcicki (23andMe)
Michael Birch and Xochi Birch (Bebo)
Robert Kalin (Etsy)
Evan Williams, Jack Dorsey, Biz Stone (Twitter) (winner)
Paul Buchheit, Jim Norris, Sanjeev Singh, Bret Taylor (FriendFeed) (runner-up)

Best startup CEO
Tony Hsieh (Zappos)
Jason Kilar (Hulu) (runner-up)
Elon Musk (SpaceX)
Andy Rubin (Android)
Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) (winner)

Best new startup of 2008
Dropbox (runner-up)
FriendFeed (winner)
GoodGuide
Tapulous
Topsin Media
Yammer

Best overall
Amazon Web Services
Facebook (winner)
Android
hulu
Twitter (runner-up)

In accepting the “best overall” award, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg ended the evening on a note of hope. Pointing out that Google helped lift the economy out of the last downturn, he said: “I think a lot of the other companies that are up here have this ability to make it so that — despite how dark the times are now — we’ll be able to build something great. And we can be the next beacon of light to help us emerge from the tough times we’re in now.”

Update: Here’s a slide show of highlights from the ceremony and afterparty, compiled by Animoto.

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