Freewebs is a Web site creation and hosting service that's been around since 2001 and has served more than 17 million registered users. Besides hosting photos, blogs, and user profiles, they've also got a group of customizable widgets that can be added to any site or social networking profile. This morning, they rolled out a widget that lets you host your own discussion right on the page, complete with admin controls that can be accessed without having to go off site. In fact, users can register, reply, and browse through threads without ever leaving the widget.
We've … Read more
Facebook has a new group called Facebook Sneak Preview that is the social-networking equivalent of a focus group. The Facebook team will be showing off screenshots of upcoming Facebook features to get feedback to potentially avoid another user backlash like the one that came with the news feed privacy hullabaloo of 2006.
Right now there are three screenshots showcasing an updated layout with less clutter and more commonly used navigation put in the right places. One change in particular shows the networks selection option and the message in-box in a tabbed menu bar at the top of the screen. Normally if you're a member of multiple networks, you have to select between them halfway down your profile. Putting that and your message in-box on the top is just a good idea. There are other little tweaks, but it's good to see them taking an active approach to making the site more user-friendly.
Not new--but cool nonetheless--is the option to comment on each screenshot, allowing users to add their opinions on the changes. The same goes for a general forum on the main page of the group, which is currently being moderated by Facebook staff to keep conversation on-topic. We've got all three screens below.
VoiceThread is a photo sharing tool that launched earlier this month. It lets users upload photos from their hard drive or Flickr, and add voice and text annotations to each slide. These 'VoiceBooks' can be embedded in blogs, Web sites, or MySpace profiles. Other users can comment on each slide, with up to 28 comments per picture. The service is selling itself as a voice forum tool.
The VoiceBook creation process is handled entirely within one window, without the need to refresh or hop pages. It's pretty user-friendly, and adding photos is incredibly easy. In just a few minutes, … Read more
Jaiku is another nanoblogging service, much like Twitter (Webware coverage). It's got a few bells and whistles that Twitter lacks, but the core concept is the same: it's easy to enter in quick status notes; it's easy to subscribe to friends' feeds; and you can send and receive updates by phone.
What I like about Jaiku is that you can add RSS feeds to your account. That way, if you blog something or post a picture to Flickr, for example, your Jaiku feed will automatically share that information with the people who are following you.
Jaiku also … Read more
YouTube has launched the first ever YouTube Awards with 70 videos in seven categories. This week viewers can vote to pick their favorites of 2006. It's kind of like the Oscars, but for user-generated video clips such as Lonelygirl15 and Ask a Ninja. As of right now, there's nothing on the awards page but a bunch of comments from confused users who have made their way to the site to find nothing to vote on. Digging deeper, clicking on playlist shows a full listing of clips. We're assuming there will be a voting system similar to the … Read more
We knew it was going to happen one of these days; with all this talk about telling everyone where you are, from Twitter maps to Dodgeball, it was only a matter of time before a mainstream instant-messaging service decided to integrate location-based features. Well, now we have it. Sort of.
A company called Skyhook Wireless, which appears to specialize in location-based Wi-Fi data services, has built a plugin for AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) that will allow you to share your location through Skyhook's Wi-Fi Positioning System (WPS) -- kind of an alternative to GPS. (Skyhook also created the Loki … Read more
Justin.tv-- the live helmet-video blogging site we wrote about last month--went live this morning. The site combines a live video feed, public chat room, and head blogger Justin Kan's daily schedule--which loosely resembles a content programming guide. Entertaining bits of content are archived for later viewing, complete with a blog post with context for what's going on. The entire production is run through Kan's backpack, which holds a laptop hooked up to an EV-DO card.
I just read about Twittervision--on Twitter, of course. It's a cool Twitter/Google Maps mashup that constantly displays recently posted Twitter updates, located on a world map. It's a peek into the stream of consciousness of the Twittersphere. Robert Scoble thinks "memes are going to go nuclear with Twitter," and that this tool will help.
With some additional development, I can certainly see that happening. The site has only been live for a few hours, so I don't want to criticize it, but I do hope that the developer, David Troy, adds some filtering … Read more