SAN FRANCISCO--Friday night's Crunchies awards were host to more than 80 different nominated start-ups and large Web services. The winners, which had been chosen by once-a-day user voting since late November, were finally announced to an audience of approximately 900 people in the Herbst Theater here in downtown San Francisco.
Of the 16 different categories for awards, I've highlighted four of the most noteworthy winners and losers below. You can see the whole list of nominees and winners over here.
Microsoft's Live Mesh picked up the award for Best Technology Innovation/Achievement.It's an important service for Microsoft, despite its young age. You can read more about the award and Microsoft's Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie in this CNET News story.
FriendFeed was voted the Best New Start-up of the 2008. This is the equivalent of the rookie of the year award in any sport, and well-deserved. The site has seen tremendous growth since coming out of beta in February of last year, and has done a lot to differentiate itself from the scores of other aggregation services that came before it.
GoodGuide, which won in the Most Likely To Make The World A Better Place category, made its debut at the TechCrunch50 conference back in September of 2008. It's a giant database of consumer products with ratings on each one's environmental impact or potentially harmful ingredients. This is a smart product, and something people at any level of tech ability can use. It narrowly won over Kiva which lets you send loans to people in developing countries.
Imeem won the Best Mobile Application award, beating out Google's voice-activated search application and music competitor Pandora. What makes this social music streaming product interesting is that the company eschewed developing its mobile application for larger, more established mobile platforms like Windows Mobile or the iPhone, and went straight for Google's Android instead. It was also one of the applications to launch with HTC's G1, the first Android handset.
Swype lost out on the Best technology innovation or achievement award to Microsoft's Live Mesh and wasn't even a runner up--an honor that went to Facebook's Connect service. Swype has the potential to be around a lot longer than either of the two though, and could one day replace the standard typing system used on mobile phones.
Sliderocket didn't nab the Best Design award, which went to Cooliris. Sliderocket has a better business model though. It wants to ween people off PowerPoint and have them design presentations that are stored in the cloud. It's also got an offline component with an Adobe AIR application, which lets you store and access your presentations even when you're offline.
Qik got beat out of being the Best Mobile Start-up by Evernote. Evernote is a fantastic application, but I'd argue that its strength is in the desktop version, and that its mobile application isn't as impressive or game changing as Qik's live streaming capabilities. Qik was also one of the first mobile streaming services that would archive recordings and make them easier to share elsewhere. It's also scrappy, offering a streaming application for iPhone users with jail-broken handsets when Apple would not allow it through its SDK.