WebInno17 Preview

One of Boston’s best events – WebInno – is on for tonight at the Royal Sonesta in Kendall Square. If you’ve never been you need to go and if you’ve been before you know you don’t want to miss out. As I’ve done for some time now, I’m offering my rundown of the companies that will be on hand and I’ll be following up in a few days to see if I was right in my predictions and assumptions.

Main Dishes

Good2Gether – one of the really nice things about WebInno over the past several months is that there’s been an undercurrent of social benefit in many of the participating companies. We’ve seen Carbon Rally, Make Me Sustainable, GoLoCo and SpotScout to name a few. Good2gether continues this tradition.

The goal is to help connect people and causes. The idea is that they will put non-profits in front of potential donors, volunteers and advocates. It all sounds well and good and some of their launch partners are terrific (the American Red Cross, the National Audubon Society, the MS Association, etc.) but I wasn’t able to get on to really monkey with things.

The company is planning to launch in 11 cities over the coming months, staring here in Boston in April. Given the general economic slowdown, non-profits are going to need all the help they can get to stay relevant and well-funded. I sure hope this is a solid, well-executed and well-received idea.

Expectations that I’ll be wowed: at the moment they’re pretty low. The site looks good and the idea seems strong but there wasn’t much to go on.

Chances that I’m way off base: wicked low

PicMe Photo Sharing – I love taking and sharing pictures. I am totally addicted to Flickr. It’s probably the service I use the very most and find the most satisfying. But is there another category that is as splintered and diverse as online photosharing? I mean you have the big walled sites – Kodak, Shutterfly; the public sites like Flickr and Photobucket; the hybrid sites like Phanfare and into the fray leaps PicMe. How many of these do we need and how many are going to stick around?

PicMe seems to be all about organizing photos. (A good thing for someone taking a few thousand photos a month.) I signed up, downloaded the desktop application and was pleased to see how quickly it found and stacked the few photos on my work PC. I liked that I could see my Flickr contacts but couldn’t figure out how to see my own photos. I scared me that I could right mouse click on a friend’s photo and get the options: “Remove Photo from Flickr” and “Remove Photoset from Flickr.” I was too chicken to find out if that really works but if it does it’s really, really bad.

Sharing photos seems a little annoying as everyone you want to share with has to have the desktop client (which is currently Windows only . . .). Even the old-school sharing sites allowed you to share with just an email address.

Not to be a total gloomy Gus though. This has some very positive points. The ability to see all of my contacts images in a single UI is pretty nice (of course I can do that with the Media Bar in Flock, my main browser). I think PicMe is an interesting application and one worth checking out. I do kinda feel like most people have their imaging workflows more or less together so it will be interesting to see where this fits in.

Expectations that I’ll be wowed: I liked what I saw but didn’t exactly love it. I’m sure it will demo well though and that it will get plenty of ohhh and ahhhs.

Chances that I’m way off base: pretty high I guess. I could see myself walking out of there and wanting to go to town and use it every day.

Jack Cards – Connecting our World Thoughtfully? What might that mean? The home page includes a quote from the Wall Street Journal: [jack cards] “ . . . saves users the hassle of last-minute trips to the card store.” Guess what? I don’t make FIRST minute trips to the card store. In fact, I don’t like cards in general. When I get them I look at them for like a second and say, “Aww, that’s nice,” as I walk to the recycling bin. Clearly I am not the target market.

What’s weird about this is that unless I am mistaken this is the second greeting card company to present at WebInno in the past year. Nichie-nichie or what?

Expectations that I’ll be wowed: On a scale of zero to negative infinity, I would say there is an infinitely negative chance of that happening.

Chances that I’m way off base: If I become a woman between now and this evening I might think this is perfect; but I’m not expecting that to happen (and if it does I’ll be pissed) so I think that speaking for me I have this right.

Side Dishes

Traackr – can I tell you all a little secret? I am a total attention whore sometimes. Not *ALL* the time but certainly sometimes. My greatest aspiration is to be a supahbrand. I spend hours on end clicking refresh. I can’t control myself. The along comes Traaker. It promises to do this mindless checking and double-checking for me. I signed up but I can’t figure this thing out to save my life. I’ve put in my user names multiple times but they never seem to stick. There’s a tick box but it never seems to click.

Expectations that I’ll be wowed: Pretty high actually. I would LOVE to have an easier time of determining how awesome I am. I just wish they’d look at a broader range of sites and services.

Chances that I’m way off base: not that high. This seems straight forward and if it actually works it would be a cool site.

Moborazzi – When I first heard the name I thought of Lego Bionicles. Then I went to the site and saw that it was a play on words “Mob” and “Paparazzi” – two popular and friendly terms . . . So this is ANOTHER way to share photos? This is a service that allows you to take picture with you phone and post it to the Web. Ummmm and this is new how? Most of the photosharing sites seem to allow this and new services like Utterz and Qik are allowing people to do more and more interesting things with their mobile devices.

Expectations that I’ll be wowed: See Jack Cards.

Chances that I’m way off base: Moderately good I guess; maybe this is just what the world needs.

Lingro – first blush – a dictionary? Meh. But then I checked this thing out and man is it cool. You can go to ANY Web site and click on ANY work and get details on the word in a number of languages. How cool is that? I tried it on a number of sites and it worked awesome. Go and try this – it really is cool and I think if like words you’ll like this site.

Expectations that I’ll be wowed: Well, I already am so I guess the expectations that I’ll be wowed are very high. I suspect that seeing it in person will probably show things I didn’t find on my own. I can’t wait.

Chances that I’m way off base: Very low. If I am not as excited after I see this I’ll be extremely surprised.

Yamli – This is kind of a niche but it’s cool never-the-less. Yamli lets you search Arabic Web sites in English. That’s pretty neat. Of course the results are all in Arabic so it lessens the utility a little bit (at least for me since to say my Arabic is rusty is to say the sun is bright). It also provides the ability to type in English and have it converted Arabic on the fly. Here’s an example:
ذي والروس ات مي انجلش مفنس. (In case you can’t read it, it says “The walrus ate my English muffin.) Definitely a tool with potential but it still feels a little rough and the utility could be stronger.

Expectations that I’ll be wowed: I like the idea of being able to expand my ability to search beyond English and to write in other languages so I have high hopes for this one.

Chances that I’m way off base: Total. I could be totally wrong.

Entrecard.com – These are essentially ads for blogs. They kind of reminded me of the ads you see over urinals – kind of weird, generic and untargeted. I have to be honest – the site does a terrible job of explaining what it does. I’ll try to stop by to check it out but man it doesn’t do much for me.

Expectations that I’ll be wowed: I don’t think that’s going to happen.

Chances that I’m way off base: Any time I take an extreme position my chances of being off base go up. Somehow I don’t think that’s going to happen.

FLIMP – Except for its really unfortunate name this is pretty cool. The site allows you to create video sites very quickly and then distribute them to targets via email. The email distribution this is cool because it allows the site to collect crazy analytics. From a content creators perspective it’s pretty cool. As a content consumer, boy, do I really want all the details of my behavior analyzed so quickly and easily?

I like what they are doing and offering. I like the look and feel of the site and I REALLY like the look of the microsites generated by Flimp. It’s cool, they have awesome customers and it seems to work well.

Expectations that I’ll be wowed: High – I already like this service and am imaging ways to use it.

Chances that I’m way off base: Pretty low.

Stylepath – A neat idea – kind of a personal online shopper/stylist that learns about you and makes suggestions for additional products you might like. If I had a less slovenly sense of style I might find this site really useful but as it is I don’t care as much as I probably ought to. I will say that the site is pretty slick in terms of look and feel and functionality.

There would probably me more in it for me if it allowed my to create a profile based on broader interests – books, movies, music – and made style suggestions based on my similarities with other – more stylish – people who share my taste.

Expectations that I’ll be wowed: For people who are into and care about how they and their space looks it might well be a total “wow!” For me, not so much.

Chances that I’m way off base: I think it’s pretty low.


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