Here'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.
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.
Google'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!
I 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)
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I 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.
Live 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.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 Trueveo), Images (from Yahoo!) and News and Blogs (from MeeHive). There's other resources too, depending on what you search for.
Shapeways 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.
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This 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.
Thingiverse is a great site if you're remotely interested in making things in the physical world. Although it's a little clunky at the egdes, there's tonnes of potential, especially as the tools for easily making the objects on the site become cheaper. If you've invented a revolutionary new coathanger, then head over to Thingiverse and tell people about it.
Thingiverse (via Likecool)
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