It's not the most innovative name but the concept may be revolutionary. Metaplace, a virtual community that is currently being tested for launch in spring 2008, was one of the most talked about start-ups at the TechCrunch40 Conference. The new platform allows anyone to build a virtual world from scratch -- for the web or even mobile applications -- without any programming knowledge. Like other virtual communities such as Second Life, There, Entropia Universe, or World of Warcraft, the Metaplace worlds can be used for gaming, socializing, and e-commerce. And they come with the usual community features: forums, user … Read more
Mixx is an upcoming social news service. If you're familiar with Digg, Delicious, and Reddit, Mixx takes a little bit from all three to provide a really solid framework for discovering and popularizing Web content.
Much like Digg, Mixx has a front page with user-submitted stories that have been voted up from an upcoming pool. Where Mixx strays (in a good way) from Digg and others is user customization. When signing up with the service, you pick categories and topics you're interested in. From then on, each and every time you check the service, the front page has the top five stories from each of these categories, giving you a quick overview of what's hot on the site. You can actually accomplish the same thing with Digg right now by setting up RSS feeds from each of the topics into a service like Netvibes, or checking out the Digg page on Original Signal, but it's really nice to have this built in.
So what makes this service promising? It's really just a mish-mash of ideas that work well together. Things like a local news section (based on ZIP code), and groups for users to share content with one another give it a social twist that up until last night, Digg didn't really have. So now that it does, what would make a user of other social news services bother making the switch? For one thing, the UI is extremely simplistic and intuitive. Tags are also a really enjoyable way to browse through content--and like Delicious--give submitters a little more control of how their story will show up in site searches, and how other users can find it.
There are a few things that need work though. For one thing, the site is a little sluggish. It's also missing some tools to help you submit content to the site, like a "Mixx This" bookmark that you can add to your browser toolbar, or a shortcut button to add to blogs and Web sites. The comment system is also a little crippled, with no threading, only "@user" replies that note whose comment you're responding to. While I don't think Mixx will ever overtake some of currently popular social news services out there, it could easily build up its own community of loyal users who are seeking more group-oriented bookmarking, and a quick way to eyeball different content genres at once.
We've got 50 invites to give away, so if you're looking to give Mixx a spin (sorry), there's a sign-up form and more shots of the service after the break.
Update: All the invites have been given away. If you missed out, you can still sign-up on Mixx's front page.
MTV has just launched a new social-networking community for youth activism, ThinkMTV, which is designed to network members both online and offline around causes ranging from climate change to HIV/AIDS. While as a standalone network it's not particularly momentous or innovative (although few names come to mind in the "social networking with a social conscience" space that specifically target the MTV demographic), ThinkMTV is worth noting because it's the first major operation to be unveiled as part of MTV parent company Viacom's new Flux social networking initiative.
MTV representatives told CNET News.com in … Read more
News aggregation community Digg has announced a number of new features designed to take the site's social networking beyond simply "digging" and "burying" headlines and blog entries.
Starting Wednesday night, members of the site can further customize their account profiles so that they more closely resemble something on a social-networking site--more personal information, bigger photos, and a more extensive record of site activity. They will also be able to use their friends lists as content filters so that their "social news" comes from a select group rather than the Digg community as a … Read more
Of all the days to relaunch its Digg clone, Netscape has funny timing. Propeller, the new face and name of the otherwise identical social news service, went live today. As we wrote about earlier this month, Netscape.com now redirects you to the cobranded AOL/Netscape start page that serves up a regular assortment of news stories and links, along with plugs for Propeller. Netscape.com and AOL.com users also get a new box with five of the most popular stories on Propeller.
Tim posted below on this blog about the new generation of social-networking sites and whether they can attract another round of users. (What are we on now, the third generation since Friendster launched in 2002? These things have almost as short generational cycles as fruit flies!)
As he rightly points out, there are many incentives but also challenges to bringing out a social network at this point in time. It's similar in some ways to the challenges faced by serialized TV shows that came in the wave after 24 and Lost.
Serialized shows where a story arc crosses over … Read more
Correction: this story has been corrected to remove the implication that iTunes sells audio files in formats other than AAC. iTunes did begin selling DRM-free songs earlier this year, but those files are still in the AAC format. Other stores are selling DRM-less MP3s, but not iTunes.
In 1998, the European Commission began investigating Microsoft on grounds that it was illegally using its desktop operating system (OS) monopoly to squeeze into new markets. At some point along the way, RealNetworks complained that Microsoft was repeating its kill-Netscape tactic by bundling the Windows Media player into Windows. In 2004, the EC agreed, … Read more
It's September, so it's time for Internet security companies to release their annual reports and surveys about the threats seen in the first six months of the year. The reports from IBM, Arbor Networks (free registration required), and Symantec (in PDF) each looked at different areas of the Internet in specific but generally found that botnets are on the rise, and that the tools used for attack have gone professional with less noise from mere amateurs. Two of the reports went to find the top three vendors most affected by newly disclosed vulnerabilities were Microsoft, Apple and Oracle, … Read more
So your MySpace.com profile says you got a dog named Fido.
Next thing you know, here come the doggie ads--Bones for Bowser, Flea dip designed for Flopper, and the Ultimate Pooper-Scooper.
Executives at Fox Interactive Media, which oversee MySpace for owner News Corp., apparently are hot to trot on this trail and will be on the talk tour this week to discuss the results of their personal profile-advertising matching program, according to a report in The New York Times.
So, what this means for you and Fido is you'll have another name of a flea dip vendor for … Read more
Mash, Yahoo's way of quietly saying farewell to Yahoo 360, is at first glance a somewhat uninspired attempt to catch up with Facebook. Even the name is boring--Mash. Don't mix it up, by the way, with Mosh, Nokia's mobile networking site (currently in beta) and Mashable, the social-networking blog. Mash (invite-only as of now) looks like a cross between Facebook, MySpace and Netvibes--and it also has a bit of wiki DNA: Anyone you grant permissions to can edit your profile or add modules they think are relevant to your profile. Besides that, nothing new.
To be … Read more