Richard McManus has a good, succinct review of the 13 companies, so we won’t duplicate.
We weren’t that inspired by this year’s crop, though. The AJAX magic of last year was so thrilling that we’ve gotten used to it, and crave something new. 3B looked cool, because it offered a new-age way to view Web pages — in three-dimension, with the user as an avatar walking around hallways. However, we were left wondering why anyone would use it.
Perhaps that’s why we gravitated toward the useful products. There were several niche services, for example sites that appealed to musicians and hobbyists. Overall, though, Sharpcast and Omindrive were the winners, in our view. They help you store your files more simply, from multiple sources. Sharpcast lets you save and edit data from any device and have it all synced.
If we had to anoint a winner of Launch Pad, we’d pick Omnidrive. Sharpcast’s presentation hit several snafus. Omnidrive offers something similar; it saves to Omnidrive online when you save things on your desktop. The data from multiple sources gets saved all to one place. It also gives you a folder that shows you all your files from different services like Flickr. You can drag and drop files into the Flickr folder and they will be uploaded to Flickr as well.
We say this even though we know Omnidrive has lots of competition. Fact is, simple storage of multiple files from various applications remains unsolved: We’ve seen lots of storage products, and have been frustrated by the little quirks each one seems to have.
Omnidrive also has sharing features and opened its platform for developers to build other products and tools for (open APIs). We’ve just noticed they’re opening up the service to anyone who signs up, with a 1GB free account.
Definitely a lot of hype flowing the halls, though. We met several people who hadn’t been able to get tickets to the sold-out Web 2.0 conference — so they’d taken up residence in the rooms outside the main conference rooms to avoid getting carded — and held meetings there instead.