I often get BETA invites for some fantastic, new platforms. Although I appreciate the exclusivity of being invited to try first, I am unable to fully share and empower others to use the technology I’ve fallen in love with. These are my top, five, picks for web and mobile platforms into 2011 that will change the way we communicate and interact with digital media. While some still show in, “BETA” form, all five are available for immediate use with confirmation emails that came in less than just a few minutes after registration. While some new platforms show great promise, these are the best of what I’ve seen. I wasn’t interested in platforms that redid another API, but those that incorporate best what the internet has to offer.
Mobile applications are already heading up most traffic. Since mobile is so accessible to the masses, it’s no wonder that applications are gearing up to deliver the internet, better. Bloggers and journalists alike need to make sure their websites are mobile-ready. Enter, MobStac. Not only does this website deliver mobile site builds, it offers the non-graphic design crowd options for a header, including uploading your twitter profile photo. They currently support over 5k devices and are expanding to feature all devices into 2011. After clicking through the required information, code and API are given to get your mobile site LIVE. Really, it’s as easy as that. MobStac offers a platform for all people to create mobile interfaces for their blogs. All for less than 5 minutes, and for free.
How many times have you wanted to get into an in-depth discussion on a website, without running over to Twitter, or Facebook? What if you could instantly join a community of like-minded people while not clogging up your social media stream with replies? Enter, Evolve and genius brains of Andrew Lee and James Tamplin. Want to see a demo in real-time? Click, here on Mashable.com. The functionality allows you to sign in with Twitter, Facebook or the Evolve chat, itself. When I was online, my room included people from Singapore, Germany, France and China. Setting up your profile is easy and it will automatically connect other chatters to your facebook feed, twitfeed and website. This is going to become a MUST HAVE for any small business in the e-commerce realm who is looking for a great tool for POS questions. Users can even start a chat, and invite others to join in by simply dragging their profile into the chat box. The very best part? I can ‘share’ the chat with others in facebook or twitter with a simple click of the ‘share’ button. If that’s not clean and simple technology, I’m not sure what is. Want to know more about how Envolve works? Visit their website. They already have built-in capability to ask questions. Could this replace Twitter and Facebook? I recently sat down, (via Envolve,) with Andrew Lee, the co-founder. Andrew currently resides in San Fransisco, (where he mused that he was enjoying the lack of snow.) Andrew is originally from Eagan, Minnesota. Here’s what he had to say:
“It all started when we were working on a previous startup, “SendMeHome.” We were thinking of features to add to the site and we thought it would be cool if everyone who was following 1 item could chat with each other. Then it occurred to us that we could build this for *any* site. We’re pushing hard to become the dominant method for real-time communication on internet communities. We are mainly targeting the major CMS’s through their plugin directories: WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, phpBB, and vBulletin.”
Game-changer, indeed. With a tool to discuss the news where the news is happening, this could revive newspapers that often struggle with clicks. The only downfall: Non-moderated chats, but as we know: the internet excels in the real-time-truth, which is often unprofessional and unabashedly human.
As consumers and social networking practitioners, we are often inundated with several ways to check into a business. FootFeed stops the madness by combining all the applications into one, handy, dashboard. For me, it’s a god-send. Consider the wasted time of trying to figure out which platform to use with a certain business. Considering that it links you to Google Latitude, Twitter, Facebook, BrightKite, GoWalla and Foursquare, the possibilities to multi-task are limitless. I appreciate the clean dashboard, easy to set up account features and powerful search toolbox. What I love most however, is that Dennis Mink knows his audience and the lack of functionality of having multiple location-based checkin platforms.
I received a phone call back from Dennis Mink and we spoke on 2011 trends and where FootFeed fit in. I typed feverishly as Dennis remarked:
“Last fall we became hooked on location-based networking. We saw an opportunity to create an application that let us check into all of them all at the same time. Born out of our own frustration. This has been my full-time gig since July. For us, it’s a labor of love. When I first started using checkin networks, I was incredibly excited that with gps enabled smart phones having the ability to press a button to let people know where I was: Its a revolutionary, but simple concept. Never before in the history of humanity have we been able to do this before. 2010 was all about checkin as a social utility. Facebook jumped in the game, to make a statement. They clearly see this as a opportunity to use this as a marketing platform for business. 2011 is all about how location-based checkins will evolve. I think we will tend to see it adopted more heavily as a marketing / ecommerce-type platform. For us, what we continue to focus our efforts on is connecting the dots. We are here to integrate the services, deals or tips or friends. Even badges, points and things people earn can be simplified. Our position is to be a central point that connects people across all the different services. We are finding there are native checkin services across the world. People are adopting a native network, plus other applications so we’re trying to position ourselves as a central aggregation point for all the services activity and content generated across all the application checkpoints. We are complimentary to FourSquare, Facebook Places and the others.”
What inspires Dennis? “Twitter and Meebo. If any application has inspired me to create FootFeed, hands down: It’s Meebo.” He remarked about upcoming plans saying, “We are launching an Android app, we are very close and hope to have it out by Christmas. We also have an app for Symbian coming out in January, 2011. We have just integrated Facebook places and are submitting our application to Apple this week.”
Visit his blog, to learn about more. In speaking with him, it’s clear that as GPS technology is on the rise, (along with copycat development,) this app stands out on it’s own to consolidate, originate and inspire other developers to create true solutions around the noise of development.
Togetherville: An online community for children that parents control. You can invite friends easily through facebook. Where it fell short? They immediately tried to advertise to me, (and my kiddo.) I was asked if I wanted to buy, “Kinect Animals,” and asked me to put items on a wishlist. With children getting enough advertising thrown at them from television and online media already, I was hoping this website was a safe-haven. No such luck.
VanillaForums: Offers more than just forums for a blog. Community growth can happen more than on just Twitter and Facebook. Allowing readers, brand ambassadors and gripers, to communicate in one place, (while owned and moderated by the company itself,) will enable growth. Where it fell short? Envolve offered real-time communication, while this offered message-board communication. Where one company may want to answer questions immediately, Vanilla offers readers a chance to look back and learn from other’s questions or posts.