I'm a big fan of the magazine Business 2.0. I've been reading it for a few years now and this most recent issue had an article called "Web 2.0 Around The World" that was outstanding. Not only was the article presented well so you could get a lot of information about new websites quickly, but some of these sites are just dang cool for a variety of reasons. Here are my top five sites from the 23 in the article:
- Zoho Writer (zohowriter.com): Zoho Writer is basically an online version of Microsoft Word. In fact, the creators of Zoho Writer have an entire suite of online products you can register for and use for free (there are a few with subscriptions as well). I really like this because we continue to see the migration of applications that reside only online rather than your computer which is great for people who want to be able to access the same information everywhere they go. I played around with the site for a few minutes and it seems very intuitive. I think the tough road ahead of Zoho and other companies like this will be getting people to switch from their desktop applications to these web applications. I also like this because we pay so much money to get Microsoft Office that these guys and some others like Open Office are great (free) alternatives with little to no sacrifice in productivity.
- Dabble DB (dabbledb.com): Just like Zoho products above, Dabble DB is a web application, but this one is specifically geared toward spreadsheets and databases. The sheer ability for teams to collaborate using this product makes it noteworthy but the inclusion of RSS takes it a step further as the next generation of spreadsheets. My buddy Jason is a spreadsheet freak...I'm anxious to get his feedback on this site.
- Netvibes (netvibes.com): I'm not a huge fan of personalized homepages but Netvibes could get me interested again. They make it super easy to put your page together and customize your homepage just the way you like it. If you're into a hompage tailored to your interests, Netvibes seems like a great way to go.
- Quintura (quintura.com): Let me begin this part by saying I'm a Google guy...I mean I don't search the Internet with anything else except Google...but I tried this Quintura search software (a free download) and was pretty impressed. Just when I didn't think you could do much else to search engines they created a "tag cloud" for searching which basically means they recognize that words or phrases can go in a number of directions so instead of listing everything in order by most popular like every other search engine, you see a bunch of other words related to that word and simply click on the one that best applies to the search you're trying to find. I'm a visual person so this application was very cool for me to see the directions I can go with my search. I don't think I'll convert from Google entirely, but there will no doubt be occasions when Quintura will be my search tool of choice.
- Habbo Hotel (habbohotel.com): Habbo Hotel is another social networking site that is already attracting droves of teenagers. Habbo Hotel is the younger, cartoonier, less technical version of Second Life with a dash of mySpace. It was very easy to set up and begin to get around but I've got to admit, I still don't really get all of this...but I put Habbo Hotel in my top 5 because I know there's something to this stuff...and just because I don't get it doesn't invalidate it. I expect we'll hear more about both Habbo Hotel and its emerging Korean rival Cyworld in the coming months.