Social networking via cell phones seems to be making a strong push lately. In the last few weeks alone we've covered Joopz, Groovr, PL8Scn, MySpace Mobile, and Gimme20, all services that let you use SMS text messages to communicate with others. Zemble, which launched its public beta version last month, is a free, group-based communication service that lets members send messages en masse to other members.
I went to the gym yesterday and was initially surprised to see how packed it was. At first I attributed it to the fact that there are probably plenty of people who are still taking a day or two off from work after the holidays. Then I remembered, of course, it's the beginning of January, and people are still idealistic about keeping their New Year's resolutions. Even the ones who swear they're too good for resolutions are probably trying to do something about that holiday-party pudge.
Consequently, many a company is currently trying to capitalize on this … Read more
If you're unsure what to bring to your neighbor's smorgasbord, Bottletalk might help you find a wine fine enough for the occasion. This wine-rating community lets you set up a profile, add and rate wines, and network with fellow members. Descriptive tags identify flavors such as citrus or tobacco, and most of the members seem to know a bit about what they're sipping. One member describes a certain Spanish Rioja as a "Very correct wine, but poor in creativity."
Text messaging can be a tricky affair. It got David Beckham in a lot of trouble with his wife, and if you're on a U.S. carrier, it's likely given you some trouble on your monthly bill. Throw in the difficulty of typing with twelve keys, and conventional messaging loses some of its appeal. That's where Joopz comes in. Joopz is a browser-based SMS service that lets you use your 100+ button PC keyboard to send and receive text messages. Many carriers already offer this functionality from their Web sites or with special, free e-mail addresses, but … Read more
Most people don't go out driving to make friends, but that's the philosophy behind a new (and extremely optimistic) social networking SMS service called PL8Scan, which enables cell phone-wielding drivers to contact other drivers by text message via the latter's license plate numbers.
Having signed up to PL8Scan, drivers who wish to initiate contact with other road users send a text message to a central repository using a five-digit number. In the message, the driver includes the license plate number of the intended recipient (including details of the state in which it is registered), as well as … Read more
When Helio struck an exclusive deal with MySpace earlier this year, it became the only carrier in the nation to support MySpace Mobile--in fact, MySpace Mobile was one of the defining features of owning a Helio handset. Starting today however, all Cingular Wireless subscribers will have access to MySpace Mobile as well. All they have to do is text MYSPACE to 386 (FUN) to get the MySpace Mobile application. It costs $2.99 a month in addition to standard data charges, so it's not cheap. As with the Web version of MySpace, you can upload photos, approve friend requests, … Read more
In response to the Webware Challenge to make cell phones into better lifelines, many (hundreds) of people added comments and wrote to me personally to say the main solution to finding people who are lost or stranded should be better cellular phone coverage, cell phones with emergency satellite radios, or dedicated emergency locator beacons. I support all of these ideas, but as I said in a previous post, I still think we could use a "fail-safe" notification system that alerts friends, families, or authorities when a person goes missing. If a person is unable to make a call … Read more
The San Francisco New Tech Meetup met at our offices Wednesday. Presentations were given by four interesting companies:
Vizu's new Answers service lets anyone create a market research poll, which is distributed to various sites and blogs that have an audience of visitors the researcher wants to poll. It looks like a really fast way to get basic product research done. It's not free: You pay to distribute your poll to the sites in the network that have agreed to run polls; they, in turn, make money for running your research. In other words, it's much like … Read more
The makers of ThinkFree, which gives away online alternatives to Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, are planning to sell premium, Web-based software by the end of the first quarter of 2007. ThinkFree will charge between $5 and $10 per month for its premium online edition, letting you synchronize files saved to the Web with the work on your desktop. Does this mark the beginning of the end of the free ride for online software? Not really. ThinkFree's downloadable software will remain $50, while the current ThinkFree Online will become the Basic Edition and won't cost anything.
As other … Read more
Welcome to the social? Not exactly.
I spent a week trekking around San Francisco, Zune in tow, hoping to find more of the players to share music with. I nearly gave up in failure but finally found one other Zune on my downtown expedition.
It's early on, of course--the Zune has only been available for around a month. Still, one of the main reasons Microsoft is hoping that consumers will opt for the Zune over the iPod is the MP3 player's wireless sharing feature. And, as I found out, it's not much use if there is no … Read more