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Web2.0. Can you even remember this term? It feels somewhat weird to say it out loud today, the term is now fading, yet the concept is still pretty much alive. There happens to be a very broad explanation of what makes a service a web2.0 site. I can tell you that it is much more than a sharing button set, or a like button on the site. Yes, it’s about social, but it is also about the user experience, the design, and having an innovative concept & features. Enough has been said about Web2.0, so I’m not going to bring it all up here now, but today, when almost every site has some sort of social element into it, I’d like to mention some of the older web2.0 services that I still appreciate greatly and rely on. Here’s a look back:
I love it when I use services for over 5 years and they are still valuable to me. Delicious is one of them. So much as been said about Delicious lately, but luckily, Yahoo is not getting rid of this service just yet. And no, I’m not afraid that I won’t have a good place to bookmark my links, that’s actually the last thing I’m worried about when it comes to Delicious. I’m more concerned about my ability to search content the right way. I guess most of you use Google or Bing. I use Delicious when I want to get some sense of what’s hot and what I should try or use. In my opinion, the more people have saved a link, the more people think it’s a good product to test, or it’s a good article to read, etc., then that’s the way to go. In my world, the users get to vote. This is what Delicious is all about to me. A good and quick view on shared links.
Flickr is my all time favorite. I have so much sentiment associated with this site although I don’t use it daily directly. Just before the community extinguished, Instagram allowed us to sync all of our pictures to our Flickr accounts and now it seems lively again. I’m still using it regardless of Instagram but I’m happy I have all of those smaller memories too. I agree Flickr has lost its momentum on the way, aided by services such as Twitpic and Facebook, but you can’t debate its quality. If I want to find my pictures faster (and have the best resolution) I upload them to Flickr.
Surprisingly, most of the time, I share photos from my iPhone directly, and there I have at least 5 apps to customize photo effects. But if I want to create a quick greeting card, I almost always use Picnik. On their free version, they have some great stickers and text that make anything look good.
Yeah, I can’t wait for Facebook to send me an invite to their new messaging gig so I can detach from Gmail. NOT.
I’ve used Gmail since 2004, and maybe, it’s time for a new email platform to stir up the market, but it must be a better one than the one I’m already using now. Until then I’m sticking with my beloved Gmail. I will say this though: I really think Google should get to work on more features in the lab, or open the lab up to more people. By now, we could have had an app store for Gmail as well.
Another Google product that I use daily is GoogleDocs. Simply put, if you’d ask me what I would prefer to do: Open the office software on my desktop or open Googledocs – I’ve had the same answer for years now: GoogleDocs for sure. It is with me all the time regardless of what computer I use, it auto saves my work, it’s fast, it’s easy, it’s silk! It’s the best way to collaborate on a documents today.
Another Google power service is Youtube and that is a must have in my daily routine. Not only do I go there to check on what’s new from my subscribers, I probably visit the site tens times a day with the help of my friends links via Twitter, Facebook, email, IM, iPhone, etc.
I find that I use Facebook today more than I used it in its early day, which is kind of surprising. I love Facebook because it has made such an impact on people who had never used an Internet before but are now on to stay in touch with their friends. I love how it manages to get into our family dinner conversations (and I’m not talking about tech people at all), and I love that we all have an easy way to communicate and consume interesting content. That said, and I know I’m in a minority here, but I wish Facebook opened up related platforms outside of Facebook site itself. Platforms such as Facebook calendar (sync events), Facebook photos (to manage your photos in a better way), Facebook search (do I need to go into details here?), and yes, Facebook email, which I don’t know why they haven’t done yet.
I’ve been using Twitter for over 3 years now, and lately, I’ve felt that people are less and less initiative and responsive than before. In many cases, it looks like people want to broadcast something themselves than to actually comment on other people’s tweets. So it is more like a reading medium than one for engaging in discussion. But something that no one can take way from Twitter is its user behavior orientation. Because of Twitter, people have learned to write & read succinctly and appreciate brevity, which gives us more time to consume even more content. This kind of reading behavior is not something that will fade out any time soon, we see it on Facebook, and in other services that are cloning Twitter’s layout, it works – people prefer to read and write short updates than to use an RSS reader, for example. At least this is the case for me. I stopped using a RSS reader because of Twitter. The only content aggregator that I’m still using daily is Techmeme, and it is by far the best site to use for updates.
If you use Twitter (surely, you do) you must have one photo sharing service that you like most of all – Mine is Twitpic (though I like http://plixi.com as well). I don’t know why Twitter hasn’t acquired this service yet and made it their default picture uploader. Hell, I don’t understand why you still can’t upload a picture to Twitter yet regardless of any kind of partnership.
I admit I do use more than one location-based service, but Gowalla is my favorite. You simply cannot not love their open approach to other location-based services, and the lovely look & feel of the application. For me, it is more fun to use than any other service out there. However, lately, I am shifting toward Google Latitude because this really is the easiest to use, it just needs a better sharing capability.
I’m also proud of these two Israel-based services: Waze & Viber. I find that I’m using both of them on a daily basis and I know it’s not just me. Waze is a must when I’m driving. I actually saw some taxi drivers in Israel using it – now, how cool is that?. Viber is just too damn good. With the exception of the few seconds delay before the conversation starts, I really think it’s better than the regular phone system in terms of sound quality and the free calls, obviously.
On my iPhone, I’m pretty much addicted to Instagr.am. I’ve been using it for 4 months or so now and already have more than 300 pictures, which means this is the sharing app I’ve used the most. Ever. What I like about this app is the light interaction between people – it’s about the pictures more than anything else and it is just a great place to find out more about people simply through their photos.
The biggest time waster on my iPhone this year is by far the AngryBirds game(s). It’s amazing how a mobile game has gotten so much play compared to desktop or online games. I can only imagine what would happen if Rovio released a Facebook app for this one. (BTW, AngryBirds seasons is just too hard, don’t you think??)
A day without listening to music is unheard for me, and unlike previous years, I haven’t seen any major changes in this area this past year, unfortunately. So I’m sticking with the great, tried, and true, for me, which are: The amazingly good SoundCloud – that allows you to find anything that is available today. And, my all time favorite: the Finetune wii player.
The biggest surprise of the year was probably Quora, which managed to grow rapidly regardless of the fact that Facebook released questions. I love that people are not compromised when it comes to good services. Facebook questions is still not quite there and not so convenient to use. Quora is simply good top to bottom, so more and more people join everyday. Eventually it will become the biggest database of knowledge. If anything, it will probably replace Yahoo Answers more than any other site.
The last service that I use daily is Zoofs. Not all of you have heard about it I’m sure, but it is a nice site that gathers the hottest Youtube videos so you won’t miss any awesome viral videos that are being shared at the moment. The site based out of Amman, Jordan. Kudos to the team for a great job!
These are my most used services to date. I can honestly say that on a daily basis I am trying out so many new applications, whenever something make me goes wow, it reminds me of how awesome the Internet is, and it never ends or fail to excites me.