Tech Coast Review
The startup and tech news weblog for Southern California
Showing posts with label widgets. Show all posts
Showing posts with label widgets. Show all posts

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Los Angeles Based Myspace is finally trying to catch back up on the innovation curve by releasing their apps platform today. These apps, much like the Facebook, apps, allow social widgets on your myspace profile. And while Facebook has beaten Myspace by almost a year with this functionality, there are some things to applaud Myspace over. Most of important of which is that they are the first container to go live with the much touted OpenSocial specs.

There are a number of apps that are live today (well over a hundred with more being added every moment). Here are a list of some of the cooler ones I played with:

    Social Music Playlist that help you discover new music and broadcast it to your friends on your profile.
  • Flixter Movies
    Helps you discover movies by showing you what your friends thought.
  • Where I've Traveled
    Create an interactive world map, to show off all of the cities, states, and countries you've traveled to.
    (Incidentally this app is made by San Diego based, a travel 2.0 company we'll probably review in the next couple of weeks).
  • Twitter Sync
    Sync your myspace mood status or other updates with twitter.
Overall, while I'm usually a Myspace hater, I'm actually impressed with how they came out of the gates here. While theres been pleanty of opensocial hype, myspace didn't send out big press releases about launching soon like some other containers, they just built the development community, got the apps working with opensocial and then just launched. Thats the way to do it. And at least for the moment, the apps not only work pretty well, they seem free of the facebook spam. Now thats a change, Myspace being solid, and better at spam then Facebook. We'll see how long this lasts.




Thursday, February 21, 2008

The hype and popularity of sports is something I may never understand but that being said I hear coworkers, friends, strangers, family, and the guy who sits next to me at the bar drone on and on about their favorite sports team. Moreover it seems that everyone of them can give me a detailed analysis why Shaq going to the Suns is a good/bad trade, comments on Joe Torrey's weight, and a strong opinion with reasons why Rodger Clemens should/should not be let into the hall of fame. So needless to say I realize this market is huge and there is a huge potential for growth with anything that allows sports nuts personalize, customize, and shout out their opinions to the world.

Jacked is taking a stab at this by making customizable widget pages so you can keep your eye on all of the sports games going on. The widgets vary from play by play to you tube videos of the teams playing. They are VC funded with at least $6.5 Million and are based in Santa Monica, CA.

The Good: There web site is about a slick as it gets and even better than that the whole site is very easy to use, navigate, and customize. Also to their credit they have a ton of money and make it apparent that they have more sports related offerings (besides the widget platform) on the way. Most importantly the widgets they offer are rich in information and gave me more than I ever wanted to know about the games I was widgeting in on.

The Bad: I understand that this is supposed to be something you look at in addition to watching TV but why does it have to be that way? I would find Jacked much more useful if they had a live stream of the game(s) you are receiving information on. My idea here is that when I am watching a game on TV I really do not want to be checking my computer for other information, however if I am on my computer watching sports (ie no TV) I would gladly watch the game on my computer surrounded with the loads of data that all of these widgets can give me. Bottom line is that I want to see the actually game live broadcast along with the widgets!

Also there should be some sort of communication with other fans that getting the same information so there is a meaningful interaction going on. Let everyone share their so called sports knowledge and see what unfolds. This seems natural to me, most people have strong opinions about every aspect of sports so let them let loose, I could see a very dedicated (and violent) community developing from connecting sports users.

Overall: There is certainly room for some money to be made in this arena and might just be the one to do it, but until they add more user interaction and live streaming videos I do not see their idea gaining significant traction.


Monday, February 4, 2008

San Diego based Goowy is a virtual desktop for office productivity as well as widgets. They were founded in 2004 so they've been at it a while and it shows. Originally funded by Mark Cuban in a seed round, today they announced that they have been purchased by and will become a wholly owned subsidirary of AOL.

From the start Goowy, has delivered a great experience and received sold feedback from the users and press alike (Techcrunch, ReadWriteWeb, Mashable, etc). Their widget platform is similar and useful to the mac widgets (though flash based) and the virtual desktop suite (also flash based) which includes email, calendaring, and more is surprisingly good. For a web app thats based on flash its impressive both how fast Goowy performs and also how good the UI is (it reminds me a bit of a cross-up of Outlook, mac Mail and iCal).

So what does AOL want with them? Well Goowy already provides widgets via the myAOL portal and as AOL continues to shift from a subscription based business model, to a media channel with revenue mainly from advertising, Goowy becomes a nice delivery platform. By using Goowy's technology, AOL can create a form of widget based advertising, that becomes more interactive (but hopefully not more annoying as well), as well as extend the myAOL services. How much, AOL guts the technology, versus lets Goowy continue on building what their virtual office productivity desktop out will remain to be seen, but regardless I'm sure this is great news for the Goowy folks who have ran a impressively lean operation.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Los Angeles based Userplane, is an application service provider that specializes in web 2.0 chat and video. They were originally founded in 2001 and were purchased by AOL in 2006. Yesterday they announced at CES that they are now supporting the friendster API so Friendster widget developers can add chat support into their own apps. They also have released their own friendster app so users can have another audio and video chat option within the friendster directory.

While frankly, nobody cares much about Friendster, Userplane working to support them is probably part of a broader strategy of getting as diversified as possible with social networking support. Especially considering that OpenSocial (to which Userplane has already announced it will support) is still in a fledgling stage and may or may not become the ubiquitous social network standard that was so touted. Of course standard APIs and easy Data portability between social networks is what most every developer really wants. But until that dream is realized, Userplane is forging ahead on their own. They've done a good job on that front, considering they already do Myspace and Facebook and now they've added Friendster.


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