Ever had a burning question, an intellectual itch that needed scratching but you don’t have hours and hours to ask your friends and trawl through the Internet looking for answers? Quora.com hopes to be the finger you scratch that itch with, becoming the best destination to hear a range of theories & opinions, crowd sourced & rated by the webizens of the world. All pages can be edited by anyone & the information on any given topic should grow and change organically over time. Like Wikipedia then, only geared towards answering questions with commentary & debate rather than just delivering pages of straight forward data.
It’s early days yet so the community isn’t huge, but there is already some interesting content building and some really influential people, like Stephen Fry, taking part. I like the addition of their first mobile app for iPhone – let’s hope it won’t be too long before the other handsets are covered. And with Facebook integration it's a great way to engage in meaningful discussions with your social network
UPDATE: this review is now defunct! (see comments below)
Catching up with your social networks is much more than a lunch hour distraction these days – unless you use Summify to help filter out the noise. Connect with your Twitter, Facebook & Google accounts and you can set the app to compile an update between 1 & 4 times a day, applying certain content filters if you want. Sharing through Facebook & Twitter can be automated, but be careful you don’t upset your followers with excessive spam.
Summify looks at what your friends are sharing and also keeps a note of what you choose to read in order to make judgements about the content you’ll enjoy, and returns a neat little package of information in a web page that’s easy on the mouse pointer as well as the eye. The ranking process isn’t as sophisticated as Newswhip but for a neat little lunchtime digest of what your friends are currently talking about, this is a friendly & flexible service that shouldn’t be overlooked.
If Wikipedia where a book it would take over a century for one person to read it. Luckily it’s been wrapped up onto a location aware augmented reality app instead. Wikitude is free to download for android, blackberry & idevices. Just look through your camera view and anything local with a Wikipedia entry will be flagged on the screen. Think Layar with the might of Wikipedia’s information database behind it – and remember to sit down if your head starts spinning. As well as flagging up restaurants & night life hotspots, there’s information about local services, such as police stations & cash machines. It’s also the first AR app to integrate with Blackberry Messenger 6, helping you locate nearby contacts. Use the route feature to switch to google maps for turn by turn directions to get where you want to go.
UPDATE: I recieved this email from the Wikitude team after they saw my review here & it details some great developments for the company.
Thanks for your recent review of Wikitude!
With our launch of Wikitude 7.0 in conjunction with launch partners like TripAdvisor, Hotels.com and Yelp last week we have been transitioning from our previous focus on location based services to a broader proposition of AR content. Wikitude ARchitect, our new technology platform, allows us to open up to a much bigger developer audience, now also including game developers. Working with former Rockstar staff at Team Vienna Game Studios (MMO 7million, Facebook Zombiees!), we have already 3 great AR games launched today!
We have just put our blogpost on our Augmented Reality Games Release live here: http://www.wikitude.com/games-release
Wordpress, Typepad, Posterous, Tumblr… just a handful of the blogging platforms hosting – by conservative estimates – more than 100 million active blogs. But what on earth are they all talking about? If you feel the need to blog but are stuck for something to say, Percolate could be the writing partner you’ve been waiting for. This site mixes micro-blogging with content aggregation from your Twitter & Google Reader RSS feed, bubbling up articles that might spark your imagination for you to comment on in a simple yet stylish blogging platform.
The site is still in invite only mode, so you’ll need to register and wait for an invitation to join. It has been in this phase of testing for a while though and there is a good community already building, so it’s worth the wait if you can find the patience. Connect with other Percolate users like any other social network to read their commentary and start building a conversation on the topics you have in common. In theory it’s similar to Tumblr, but there is a lot less pressure to create content if you just want to dip in occasionally or browse what others are saying.
Most travel websites start by asking you where you would like to go. But what if you don't know? That's where joobili.com wants to help those thinking about travelling in Europe. By setting the slider on the opening page you can find out what's happening, where – which is especially useful if you're looking for a weekend city-break and want to experience something a little bit different. I love how simple, yet visual this site is. Listed events are generally accompanied by photos & text descriptions. Though this site is still in Beta, so some events don't have much detail yet. It's up to us as the users to edit & build the content for the greater good of all.
If you want a little more control you can filter the suggestions by category, country or keyword – and while membership isn't needed to use the 'inspire me' slider, if you do want to register it's free and easy, and you can then save the events you're interested in and connect with the site's community to find travellers with the same kinds of interests as you.
Crystal balls are all very well, but if you want an accurate picture of what the future holds, you’d be better off signing up to Zapaday.com. This is an open news agenda and a global public calendar that lets you see the future with day-by-day events, news stories, facts and trivia. You can even post details of your own upcoming event so that it’s listed in the global calendar. The website has bots that scan over 4000 news and government websites looking for any reference about the future and then the site’s editors sort it all out into calendars… so you can see what’s going to be in the news next week. If you’re an iPhone user there’s a free app called Tomorrow, and according to their Facebook page an android version is coming soon.
Discovery engines are all about helping you find new things you’ll love based on what everyone else on the web thinks. There are lots to help you explore new areas of music, but not many that do it in such a stylish was as Discovr Music. It’s for iPhones & iPad with a download for the MAC, and is an infinitely more rewarding experienced on the larger screen of a desktop or tablet. As you explore you can tap through for samples, biographies, videos and other interesting titbits.
The apps themselves aren’t free, but they’re not expensive either and they really do work brilliantly and look very nice while they’re at it. If you’re not crazy about music you might be interested in the developers other offering instead – Discovr Apps. Same principle but building a map of content you might like from the world of smartphone apps. Now that really makes me ‘appy.
When it comes to hooking up around town, location based check-in apps are all very well if your friends are active users, but it can be a lonely life for the geo-traveller if they aren’t. Echoecho is a free smartphone app available on all the popular platforms with Windows Phone 7 iminent too, that turns the foursquare model on its head, allowing you to send your contacts a request when you want to know where they are – and you can use it right out of the box… no sign up or building yet another social network required. Once you’ve connected the app will help you find a good local venue close by – and if your contact doesn’t want to download the app you can reach them through the browser version too. This really is a breath of fresh air is a world gone crazy with location based complexity.
Youtube is now the second most popular search tool on the web, but isn’t frustrating that you can’t search for content to watch whilst you’re watching something else? Well now you can with Dagadop.com. When you consider that around 2.9 billion hours of footage is watched on youtube every month – that’s over 325,000 years by the way – it seems crazy to me that this hasn’t been thought of before.
If you create an account or log in with Facebook you can drag and drop your search results into a rolling playlist, giving you uninterrupted visual entertainment as you search for the next thing to watch. That’s it.. another example of understated brilliance. May your browser brim over with kitten memes & dramatic wildlife.