Wetpaint, the wiki editing and hosting service, added private and group messaging this morning. The new service allows users to communicate one-on-one just like e-mail, and gives wiki administrators a new way to communicate to those moderating and contributing to their pages.
Sending a message in the service is pretty simple. If you're signed in, just click a user's name to pull up a "send message" pop-up. If you want to send out a group message, just start typing in names and the service will pull them up (like Gmail does).
Over the weekend, a weird thing happened on the nanoblogging service Twitter (Twitter review; Twitter how-to): Its most popular contributor, Leo Laporte, announced that he was leaving Twitter for a competing service, Jaiku (review). And that he was taking his fans with him. See Laporte's blog for his explanation.
The reason: An unfortunate coincidence of naming. Laporte runs the popular technology podcast, This Week in Tech--aka TWiT. After embracing Twitter and winning the most users or "followers"--more than 4,000, surpassing even megablogger Robert Scoble (Twitter feed)--he realized that there could be brand confusion between Twitter and TWiT, and thought it best to depart Twitter while he and Twitter's business team got things sorted out. The departure played out in blogs and on Twitter itself, and to everyone's credit there doesn't appear to be animosity among the players.
But it's a pain in the neck for bystanders. The "Laporte effect" has had ramifications for users of both services. First, the influx of users to Jaiku overwhelmed the service, causing it to become intermittently nonresponsive (shades of Twitter). Second, it leaves users with a dilemma: if you want to play in the nanoblogging universe, which site do you use and hang out on? And as I wrote on Twitter over the weekend, "I'll be damned if I'm going to update Jaiku and Twitter too." So, what's a nanoblogger to do?
The easy answer: sign up for both services, and add your personal Twitter RSS feed to your Jaiku account. That way, when you post a Twitter item, it'll show up for your Jaiku users as well. Here's how:
HiTask is a(really simple collaborative task management tool for small groups. Members can create tasks, meetings, reminders, notes, and birthdays to add to their own schedule or assign to others. The entire interface is drag-and-drop, and any actions by team members will instantly be reflected on your tasks page. It's a mix of a scheduling app and to-do list tool that's dead simple to use. In testing, we were making and managing several projects in less than five minutes without reading any documentation, which bodes well if you're collaborating with non-tech-savvy people.
Assigning tasks to other users is really simple. Once you've created a task, you can just drag it over to the group member's name. You'll get a note on the task letting you know who you've assigned it to, and as soon as they're done with it you'll be notified in real time. Likewise, when a group member assigns something to you, it will show up on your schedule, along with a note of who it's from. The one thing missing from HiTask is the option to view other members' schedules, which would be helpful--especially for gauging how much is on someone's plate.
If you do need to talk, there's a built-in chat module, which is limited to one-on-one. There's no way to group chat, or share files like you get with some more advanced group collaboration tools like BaseCamp, and activeCollab, but HiTask is pretty early in development.
HiTask has both a free and premium service. The free service reaches its limit at 10 tasks, making it little more than a demo. The $15 a year service provides unlimited tasks, group members, and projects. See the screenshots after the jump.
Google pushed out a nice update to the Web version of their Talk application earlier this week. Users can now have more than four conversations at once, embed Flickr slide shows into chat, and my personal favorite, pop out the chat list as its own window.
The Flickr slide show implementation is pretty slick, although I got a little confused trying to paste in the slide show URL, only to get a dead-end. Users need only paste in an album URL, and Google Talk will automatically convert it into a slide show for you. You can shuffle back-and-forth between photos, … Read more
We just got the word on a new social network called UltraSoundd. It's aimed at unborn children who want to blog their lives and post pictures and videos of their dwelling space to share with friends. Other social networks have similar efforts, but with their parents managing the profile and posting updates. Ultrasoundd lets the kid do all the work. The site just secured a $2 million round of Series A funding from Gerber's parent company Novartis.
To set up an Ultrasoundd account, parents need simply register with the site and download a small, 130KB Java application to … Read more
We got the tip today about a brand new service called Bubble Guru. Its goal is simple: to give your blog or Web site visitors a short pop-up video message that runs and closes without any user interaction required. You can also record and send message to friends via e-mail. For viewers, there's no escape--the talking bubble will follow them as they scroll down the page.
The service is by no means a full-fledged video blogging tool; it falls into a strange subcategory between video messaging and a pop-up advertisement. It's also a little early in development, offering no way to save and track the messages you've created. For now the service is free, but a paid subscription version is on the way for about $10 a month.
We thought long and hard about the usefulness of this for the casual user. In truth, video embedding services from YouTube or Viddler is much more user friendly. Users can turn those videos on and off at their discretion and pass any interesting ones along to a friend. That, however, isn't the point of Bubble Guru. This service is all about grabbing your attention, which it does very well. We've embedded one for you: to see what it looks like, click "read more" below.… Read more
Speech recognition technologies had a moderate presence at CTIA, and CallWave had one of the biggest announcements with its new Vtxt service. Designed for busy, on-the-go types, Vtxt eliminates the need to scan through long, dull voice mails by sending them to your cell phone. After someone leaves you a voice mail, you'll receive a text message containing the person's name and phone number as well as a summary of the voice mail. The summary is composed using a CallWave-developed algorithm that scans for what it deems as important words, while leaving out any pauses or words like &… Read more
One application that Yahoo will make available creates a link between Flickr and Yahoo Mail. The service looks at the subject line of an e-mail and searches Flickr for photos related to that word, such as "party."
The company envisions a whole list of applications that can be built using mail.
For example, people can find ways to access e-mail from different mobile clients or to combine social networking features and multimedia with mail, … Read more