Here are outline details of a further three new/newish services that have caught my eye recently.
1. Waze is a free satnav (satellite navigation) service for mobile ‘phones equipped to receive GPS (global positioning satellite) data. As with a car satnav, you enter your destination and it works out a recommended route for you, updating it as you go.
The service also sends the cellphone details of driving conditions along your route. These it collects from other users’ ‘phones as they drive. Users can also take an active part in data collecting, by sending information to the central controller for distribution to other users. Keen users can also update or correct the maps that Waze uses.
There are social elements. Drivers can ‘earn’ points, and create or join local groups on Waze. They can also check in to locations on Foursquare, use Twitter to tweet about their activities or connect to a Waze page on Facebook. I prefer to concentrate on driving.
Waze can run on iPhones, most Android ‘phones and some BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows Mobile devices. The Web site lets you view the routes you have already driven, which can be useful.
I use Waze on my BlackBerry and find it generally as responsive, helpful and accurate as my TomTom satnav. If it had access to a similar range of POI (points of interest) data, Waze would be serious competitor to it.
2. Worksy is a Web-based compendium of open source tools, all mutually integrated. These include a calendar, Web mail and Web site creation (using Joomla) and managing activities, contacts, documents and customer relations. Users can invite contacts from Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Sign-up is free and gives you 1 Gb of storage and linking to two other users. You can sign in directly or use a Facebook or Google identity.
Other plans are “Business”, costing €10 a month and allowing unlimited users and 10 Gb of storage, and “Business+”, costing €30 a month and allowing unlimited users and 25 Gb. The latter two schemes allow access by mobile ‘phone and synchronisation with it.
The software is also available as a ‘white label’ service for companies to offer their customers or clients.
Worksy is based in Copenhagen and came out of beta testing in March 2012. It was formerly called Tangerine District (I have no idea why) and, before that, Office123. The service competes with longer-established, American-based offerings such as those from Zoho and, to a degree, 37signals.
I like the clean interface of Worksy but have not tested it. If its components integrate as well as claimed, I can see it being useful to businesses of all kinds. My only problem is with its name. I keep reading it as “Workshy”, which of course it isn’t.
3. Wunderkit is a free ideas management tool that runs on the Web. There are client versions for Apple Macintoshes and iPhones, synchronisable with the Web version. The service can work for groups as well as for individuals, turning it into a simple project management tool.
There is a ‘Pro’ version, costing “4.99” a month (currency not specified; per user or overall not specified). New sign-ups presently get the Pro service free for 90 days.
You can sign up direct or use a Facebook or Twitter identity. The same applies to inviting other people to join. Once logged-in, you can set up workspaces, which are the ‘playgrounds’ within which you and your colleagues create, organise and refine activities.
Inside a workspace, which can be private, are tasks, lists and notes. All are taggable and assignable.
Users can ‘follow’ other workspaces to see what they’re working on and can let other people follow them. A dashboard gives an overview of your and others’ workspaces and is where you can make comments or start discussions. Update notifications appear in Wunderkit or go by email.
The service is in beta and there is work still to do. I find the user interface simple and clean. However, the wood-effect background to the main work area looks naff. Once Wunderkit is stable and complete, it will have a promising future, especially among Mac users.
That ends my quick shufti at these six services. I hope you find at least one of them useful.
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