At the Web 2.0 Summit, a session of product demos showcases several apps and products with a broader perspective than in previous years. These demos were selected because they dealt with global issues, such as the financial situation, global warming, health care, and even "intractable religious wars." A panel of judges discussed each of these products. Here is the Webware take:
Carbon Networks Corporation. This is a service that helps companies understand their carbon footprint, and then monetize it. Say what? It looks like a private carbon offset market for businesses. It also provides tools to help companies account for their emissions. For a thorough overview, see our previous coverage, "Carbon counter Carbonetworks grabs funds." Given that managing carbon emissions is not a core competency of many businesses, it makes sense for analysis and auditing firms to profit from helping companies address the issues.
EveryScape is a very cool 3D map viewer that has the neat trick of going inside buildings--for a fee. It's a clever model and very nice looking product, but Google does perhaps 75 percent of what this company does, and has a much larger footprint. And then there's Microsoft's PhotoSynth. Could be an acquisition candidate for either company. Previous coverage: EveryScape brings 3D map views inside buildings. At the Launch Pad session, the demonstrator showed a cool prototype of a mobile version of the service on an iPhone.
GoodGuide was one of my favorite products from the TechCrunch50 conference. It tells you how environmentally and socially responsible consumer products are, as well as what harmful materials they may include. Great design and easy to use, as well. See "GoodGuide will save your skin." Announced here Thursday: iPhone and SMS versions, so you can scan items on store shelves while you are shopping. A cool service gets cooler.
Predictify is sort of a prediction market, although the CEO says it's not. It's really a platform for discussion, he says, and a generator of consumer data. Sponsors ask questions and are charged for the "predictions" that users generate; the most accurate users get rewarded for accuracy. See "Predictify helps you understand other voters." It's a very clever market research tool, and publishers can also put widgets on their sites to drive reader engagement. It's a smart model but like some of the judges, it leaves me a bit cold; I don't think of market research saving the world.
Qik is a live-streaming product that runs on mobile devices (the company keeps adding support for more platforms). It also lets users chat with the broadcaster. It is an incredibly cool product, and a very powerful tool for journalists, activists, and so on. There are good competitors in this space, however.
Sungevity is a seller of residential solar systems. What's really cool about it is that to get a quote, you go online, locate your house on a Virtual Earth map, and the company gets back to you with an image of your home with panels on its roof, as well as predicted energy output. Sungevity handles any governmental rebates for you. I tried the system a month or so ago and was astounded by how little it would cost me to put a system up on my roof. See Cutting down solar costs with satellite imagery. Also check out RoofRay.