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Silentale - Europe's hottest new start up?

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Silentale features-peoplebook.pngThe trouble with this shiny new digital world is that the information we create online tends to get scattered all over the place (email, Twitter, text, Google etc). Wouldn't it be better to have all your online chat (that sounds a bit Alan Partridge) in one place?

Well providing that type of online receptacle and more is the mission of a new French start up called Silentale which went into beta testing this week. It aims to keep all you digital conversations in one place, and I mean all of them. Once you sign up it aggregates everything you write from your email messages, Facebook updates, Twitter posts and even your text messages.

So why would you want this? Well you have probably had at least one occasion when you have been searching for an email from someone and not found it. Then later on you realised that you actually sent them a message via Twitter or even text from your mobile. Well the really smart thing that Silentale does is that it creates profiles for your contacts in an address book and then aggregates all the messages you sent them together. In other words you will be able to see at a glance all the different ways in which you have had a conversation with them.

The information will also be displayed in a timeline too so you will be able to search for a specific day and read the conversations you had then, or just see how busy you had been today.

The bit that has me most excited though is the service's Firefox extension. So when you are looking at social networking sites this automatically it detects who you are looking at and voila all your recent correspondence, as well as contact details of the person, pops up on the page. The extension currently works while browsing Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Viadeo, Hi5, Gmail, Hotmail/Live Mail, Yahoo Mail and AOL Mail.

The service will launch for free to begin with, but the catch is that you'll only be able to see two months archive at a time. If like me you want to go further back expect to pay a yearly subscription of around £30.

To me Silentale sounds like it has massive potential. It is one of those ideas that when you think about it you are shocked that it hasn't been done before. Like the best start ups it meets a very definite need and also has a very clear route to making money. If the technology works well Silentale could be huge.

Silentale is still in beta and invites are hard to come by, though you could always email them. There's a load more on TechCrunch Europe.

seatwave.gifNot long ago a Guardian writer claimed that the UK tech scene was being read its last rites. Well, according to the paper today that is a long way from the truth. The Guardian has published a list of what it sees as the top UK 100 tech companies along with a feature from TechCrunch UK editor Mike Butcher in which he claims there has never been a better time to create a start up.

As for the hot 100 you can see the list here. There aren't too many surprises in the top 10, though I know of a few people who will be highly irritated to see Seatwave make the top spot. The big winners include Spotify (hey the iPhone app is here), Moo (who make those ever so cools cards) and Mindcandy (cool multi player online games).

Most of the other 90 are either industry type start-ups like pioneering ad company Skimlinks and image search specialist Pixsta. The key consumery companies that make the list include VOIP service Truphone, music identifying service Shazam, virtual record company Slicethepie, Twitter aggregator Tweetmeme and online community builder Webjam.

Friday review: Justbought.it

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JustBought.it.jpgHere's a site that has great potential. Justbought.it combines everything that's regarded as cool on the web at the moment: Google Maps, social shopping and Twitter/Twitpics. Or according to the blurb, "it's a location based social shopping that allows you to share photos/tweets." On paper it sounds like a winning combination, a vertitable internet supergroup especially if you trust other people's recommendations when it comes to buying stuff (I don't). Just one problem. It's very difficult to get excited about it - yet.

Posterous.JPGOver the last few months there have been many stories in both mainstream and social media chronicling the decline of blogging. Fewer people are apparently starting blogs, many blogs are not being updated and less people are reading them.

There is a fairly contentious debate as to why blogging has become less popular, but many commentators cite the growth of micro blogging or Twitter, as the most significant reason for its downturn.

I think they are right too. Twitter is a fast and instantaneous way of sharing information with a large group of people, it makes blogging look slow, cumbersome and rather one dimensional.

There are however still many good reasons why savvy individuals and brands will continue to use blogging software to deliver content.

1 I think that only very shallow minds can express everything they feel about an issue in 140 charactars.
2 Blogging should still be a major plank in website owners SEO strategy. For search engines original content on websites is still a massive draw and if a blog is updated regularly it will not only attract regular readers via RSS, Twitter or others sources but will pick up readers through Google, Bing etc

Why Posterous might be a game-changer

I think that blogging will still be a major part of the social media world if blogging software can evolve to make things easy for people to express their opinions. This is where Posterous comes in.

Posterous, along with its rivals Tumblr and Twitblogs, is the fourth wave of blogging software. It all began with basic systems like Blogger at the turn of the decade. Then more sophisticated systems like Wordpress and Movable Type enabled bloggers to produce more website-like feature-rich blogs. The third wave married blogging with social networking like the blogs on sites like MySpace as well as blogging software with social networking elements like Vox.

With Posterous and its rivals, we have blogging software that is optimised to not only ape the simplicity of micro blogging, but also to harness its reach, to syndicate content.

So is Posterous the future of blogging? At this point is hard to say. However given the way the Posterous has reignited many bloggers love of the format (I'd include myself here - nearly 100 posts in a month) I'd argue that it at the very least it will play an important role in shaping the future of blogging.

Posterous is not entirely new. It has been around for a year now, but it is now only really starting to gain traction with bloggers on both sides of the Atlantic.

Ease of use

What makes it so attract to bloggers is that it is so simple to use. With traditional blogging software users had to log into a site, input their text, upload images, size them and carry out other tweaks too. With Posterous there are two very simple ways of posting. Firstly users can email content. The subject matter of the email becomes the head, the body text the content and any attached images the pictures. It is incredibly simple to use and very effective when used with smartphones like the Nokia N97 and the iPhone.

Secondly Posterous users can download a bookmarklet which sits in the bar at the top of the browser. When they find a page they want to link to or write about, they click on the bookmarklet and it appears on top of the page. It grabs any images on the page - the user just chooses the one they want - and they add any text or links in the text box. They then press save and within seconds their post is published. Even complicated things are made simple. Producing image galleries can be done in seconds rather than minutes by attaching a lot of images to an email - the software automatically presents them as a gallery. The software is also smart enough to recognise video content and presents it in the correct way on the page without the user having to make any amendments.

Once the post has been published Posterous does several other clever things. The user can set their account up so that each time they post, details of the post are automatically sent to Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites. They can even use it to feed another blog.

So for example I very rarely post direct to Twitter now, but rather post a mini blog story on Posterous which automatically pings my Twitter account. The system's excellent tracking ability means that I can see exactly how many people have clicked on my post. Some bloggers use Posterous as an alternative to Twitpic in that they can share many images quickly and easily with the Twitter community.

It'll be interesting to see where Posterous goes in the next few months. An obvious move would be a deal with Google to allow users to monetise their blogs. Adding more advanced features so users can tweak their posts after posting would also be useful.

It will also be interesting to see if Posterous type features are incorporated into traditional blogging software like Wordpress and Typepad.

From this bloggers perspective though Posterous is the most exciting thing to happen to blogging software in several years. It might not slow the decline of the format but it will certainly attract hard core, time-poor bloggers and it could have some very interesting uses for both commercial and corporate bloggers.

How to choose the perfect blogging software

Need to make a decision in a hurry online, with a group of people? Doodle's got your back. It bills itself as a scheduling and choice-making site, and it pretty much does that - and nothing else - which is a breath of fresh air compared to most sites.

The question-asker just puts in the details, and up pops a link which he or she can then send to anyone they want to get input from. You can choose whether your poll is private or whether anyone can see anyone else's answers - which will reassure the privacy-conscious.

Doodle's free, and you can try it out right now. Registration is optional, but it's quick and simple. It's ad-supported and the company is based in Zurich, Switzerland. Go try it.

Doodle

seety.jpgGoogle's been taking its sweet time over the release of Street View for the UK, and as happens when you take too long over something, another company's gone and done it instead. Well, not the whole of the UK, just central London, but that's good enough for me.

Visiting Seety.co.uk, you get a Google Map of central London, and you just click to open up a Street-View esque image of the area, which you can then navigate around with arrows. All faces are blurred, and some of the smaller roads haven't quite been indexed, but the majority of central London is present and correct.

It stretches most of the way up Holloway Road to the north, and not very far south - just down to Elephant and Castle. Out east it stretches approximately to Bow and Limehouse, and west, you don't make it much further than Shepherd's Bush. It needs a bit of extension, then, but what's present is very impressive, especially given the higgledy-piggledy layout of London's streets compared to American cities.

It's unfortunate, though, that as soon as Google brings out its own Street View product, which can't be far off, then this will become mostly obsolete. Still, in the meantime, enjoy looking around London, and if you find anything interesting, send us the screenshot!

Seety (via @theredrocket)

twit4hire.pngI can understand people not having the time to update a blog. To grow a blog properly it needs time, effort and careful feeding of the community. A Twitter account, on the other hand, requires considerably less effort - 140 characters, perhaps twice a day? Well, if even that's too much for you or your business, then Twit4Hire is the company for you.

It's targeting business who want to "get on the Twitter" but haven't got a clue how to go about it. Or they might have a clue, but can't spare the resources. Either way, Twit4Hire will sit there and chat to legions of followers about nothing your business on your behalf.

I'm not sure I could recommend employing Twit4Hire. Do it yourself. For top tips on how best to use Twitter for marketing and PR, visit this handy site, instead.

Twit4Hire (via TechRadar)

Related posts: Tweetminster lets you follow your MP on Twitter | Twadio - silent radio station launches on Twitter

helphound.jpgI know what you're thinking, yet another business review site. On the face of it, that's true - at first glance there's nothing separating Helphound from Yell, WeLoveLocal or TouchLocal. Look closer, however, and you'll find plenty to like.

Much like the aforementioned sites, Helphound provides a community centered around reviewing organizations and businesses. Helphound's differentiating factor, though, is a dispute resolution mechanic, where businesses can dispute a bad review, allowing them to remove it temporarily from the site and try to engage the customer instead. If they fail, the review goes straight back up.

gigjunkie-logo.jpgLive music fans have a tough time of it. You've got to contend with awful ticket agencies, heavyhanded security, and crap listings services, and even when you get inside there's always the risk that you'll be stood in front of some drunk idiot who'll hurl abuse and beer at the band throughout the show, ruining your enjoyment.

Well, music fans, there's a new website that aims to solve at least one of those problems. That of the rubbish listings services. Gigjunkie.net is a "the UK's definitive and independent Gig Listing". It aggregates data from loads of sources, and then allows fans, venues and bands to add anything extra.

kosmix-header.jpg
Kosmix.com is a new startup that's trying to shake Google's dominance of the search market. Good luck with that, guys. However, I rather suspect that their real agenda, to take an analogy with politics, is more similar to the Green Party's approach to Labour and the Conservatives. It's trying to change things not by grabbing a majority share, but by innovating and passing popular ideas up to the people at the top.

Kosmix is trying to change search by providing context to your results. On the results page, you get a list of (Google's) search results, as well as relevant forum posts (from Omgili), Q&As (from Yahoo! Answers), Videos (from BlinkX, YouTube and Truveo), Images (from Yahoo!) and News and Blogs (from MeeHive). There's other resources too, depending on what you search for.

shapeways-lam.jpgShapeways is a lovely idea - it's a website that lets you do 3D modelling online, without any of the tedious tweaking from three different angles that usually accompanies such modelling packages. You can design and share your creations, and Shapeways can produce and deliver any design within 10 working days.

I did a search, and there's no goatses on the site just yet, which is a shame, but there are a number of lovely lamp surrounds, like the one pictured. These "light poems" require no modelling at all - you just put the text in, and it'll create it for you. I'm making one right now that just says "poo" over and over again. Round and round. It's beautiful.

Shapeways

Related posts: Thingiverse - share your digital designs for physical objects | HubDub launches in the UK - make money betting on the news

thingiverse.jpgThis morning, while investigating a rather awesome-looking steampunk laptop stand, I came across the brilliance that is Thingiverse. It's a site that allows you to share your designs and plans for the building of real-world physical objects. The idea is that you can use digital cutters and fabricators to cut out the object relatively easily, and voila - a new.. er.. thing.

The best bit about Thingiverse is that it uses Creative Commons licenses, and encourages people to use them. Combined with a recently-added 'derivatives' function, it's incredibly easy to create designs based on other people's work, or improve existing objects. The steampunk laptop stand was a regular laptop stand before someone added the gear design.

hubdub-logo.gifFancy a bet on news events, but aren't keen on losing cold hard cash in these tough economic times? HubDub's what you need. The fake-money news-betting site has been going strong in the US since February this year, but given that they're based in Edinburgh, it was only a matter of time before they expanded to the UK.

The site's live right now, and you can bet virtual Hubdub dollars on the outcome of such important factors as who's going to get Christmas #1, whether Laura White from X-Factor will make a comeback, or who the next Dr Who will be. There's slightly more high-brow questions too, like whether inflation will hit 6% by the year's end or who'll win the next election in the UK.

hiogi.jpgWhat do you get if you cross Yahoo! answers with a service with Texperts, AQA or 63336? Hiogi. It's a free service, accessible via the web, mobile web, text, skype or email, which lets you ask questions and get replies. The German-based start-up has just come out of private beta.

What you basically do is ask a question, and then wait till the community answers it for you. When the answer comes back you can rate it positively or negatively depending on whether it's correct or useful or not. On the answering side, you download a ticket which gives you questions. Once you see one that you can answer, you can reserve it for 10 mins to answer it.

tokoni-logo.jpgA husband and wife team of former executives at Skype and eBay have banded together to create Tokoni - a site which lets you tell your story in the form of notes, photos and video. Tokoni has been in beta for a year, but launches today. It differs from a blog network because it's more community-focused. Co-founder Alex Kazim explains:

"We created Tokoni to fill the distinct need for an online community where individual stories of life's experiences have a voice and are valued, and where the collective wisdom of the community is celebrated."

zeer-logo-white.gifEggs. Flour. Milk. Teabags. Oranges. Ice cream. Organic Sunflower Seeds. Are you tired of the same old shopping lists? Me neither - I just tend to buy frozen pizza, cider, and supernoodles on my weekly shop, and I don't need a list for that. If I had a wee bit more concern over my diet, however, I'd sign right up for Zeer.

It's a startup which promises to catalogue your supermarket trip, allowing you to create and edit shopping lists weeks in advance, as well as seeing reviews and recommendations from other shoppers. You can then print out your lists, or view them on your mobile phone, so you don't forget that crucial cheesecake when under the harsh lights of the bakery section.

alerts.jpgGoogle Alerts and Yahoo Alerts have themselves a new competitor in the shape of the minnow that is Alerts.com. As well as all the news, weather and sports updates, which the big players already deliver, Alerts is designed to bring you every single piece of information you could need including the personal bits and pieces just for you and your infinitely intricate and complex life.

We're not talking the life threatening information - whatever that my be on a daily basis - but we're talking about reminders for everything from birthdays and wake up calls to job alerts, fuel prices and whatever flights and hotel information you may need.

Web 2.0 Startup of the Day: Recruiting Grounds

recruitinggrounds.jpg

Meet gamers just like you. Then kill them. That's the premise behind most decent online console games. And the same is true of Recruiting Grounds. Except without the killing part. See, it's a social networking site for gamers, fed up with MySpace's focus on the music crowd.

It's got blogs, polls, quizzes and screenshot galleries galore, as well as the option to create a profile for your online gaming clan, as well as yourself. The site also holds its own tournaments, while allowing users to set up their own competitions too.

Web 2.0 Startup of the Day: Vuze (formerly Zudeo)

vuze-screenshot.jpg

Andy actually wrote about Vuze back in December, when it was known as Zudeo. Created by file-sharing company Azureus, it could be loosely described as a high-definition YouTube. Well, in that it lets you search for and watch high-definition films and videos, as well as standard-definition stuff.

Content is on offer from professional and independent TV producers, and the company has signed deals with companies including the BBC and Showtime. It also places a big focus on community aspects, letting users create their own channels of videos, and also rate what's up there.

Vuze is another Telly 2.0 site that deserves to share in the buzz around services like Joost and VeohTV. I'm just wondering where I'm going to find the time to watch them all...

Vuze website

Recent Web 2.0 Startup posts
Eye-Fi
Date: Unknown
SciTalks
RemoTV
Tapatap

Web 2.0 Startup of the Day: Eye-Fi

eyefi.jpgImagine if you didn't even have to think about transferring photos from your digital camera to your PC before uploading them to the internetweb. It'd be much better if they just made their own way online, without you having to bother.

Well, that's the idea behind Eye-Fi, which raised $5.5 million of funding earlier this month. Its idea is to let people automatically upload their photos via Wi-Fi, but instead of relying on Wi-Fi being built into their cameras, it'll use SD cards that double as Wi-Fi chips.

They're expected to go on sale this Autumn for around $100 (£50), and should support the most popular photo-sharing sites and social networks.

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