Web 2.0 Companies I Couldn't Live Without

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There have been numerous 2005 “best of” and 2006 “predictions” posts over the last few weeks as the year comes to an end. I’m not going to write one of those. Giving out “best of” awards seems presumptuous to me, given that I’ve been blogging all of six months. And while predictions are fun, they aren’t all that useful in the end.

What I do want to write about as I reminisce about the year ending in a couple of days are the Web 2.0 companies that I love and use every day.

I’ve tested over a thousand products this year, and have written about hundreds. And while some of the companies I write about get very positive reviews, I find that the only true test of the value of a product is its staying power: do I continue to use the product, and maybe even pay for it, as the days and months go by?

So for those of you that are curious, here is a short list of the companies that have held my attention, and that I would not choose to live without on the web:

Bloglines

I have a love/hate relationship with Bloglines, but they’ve recently improved performance dramatically, and I really like that I can see the number of subscribers for each feed. This was the hardest one to include on the list, but at the end of the day I couldn’t leave them off.

Del.icio.us

I use Del.icio.us multiple times every day to store and retrieve bookmarks. I freely admit that there are better solutions out there and I may very well switch to one of them in the near future, but you have to hand it to Del.icio.us for inventing the social bookmark phenomenon.

FeedBurner

I love the statistics Feedburner provides on feed readership and has lots of advanced features that are important to me. And despite what I’ve written in the past, I know and trust the FeedBurner team. I just wish they’d get rid of the advertisement on my feed page. :-)

Flickr

I enjoy Flickr more and more every day. I like seeing what my friends are up to based on the photos they upload as well as getting comments from others on my pictures. And I am starting to go back and upload old sets of photos from years ago. Flickr is just perfect.

Measuremap

The Measure Map blog analytics tool created by Adaptive Path gives me incredible insight into who is looking at what on TechCrunch. They need to deal with the speed issue for larger blogs though (it takes minutes sometimes to pull up stats, or just breaks).

Memeorandum

Memeorandum is how I keep up on the blogosphere when I don’t have time to read all of my feeds. It has also changed what I blog about, and how. Memeorandum is a cultural phenomenon.

Netvibes

Yeah, there are a lot of Ajax desktops out there, but Netvibes seems to stay ahead of the pack on functionality. The flickr stuff is great. Plus, how can I not love a service that includes TechCrunch as a default feed? :-)

Omnidrive

I’ve been waiting for something like this forever. I forsee a day when a service like Omnidrive comes packaged with a new PC, or is offered alongside web email solutions. I’ve only had it for a few days, but I’m smitten. And fair disclosure: there are some awesome competitors out there, too, that I am just starting to look at.

Pandora

I listen to Pandora whenever I write – sometimes for hours a day. I’ve discovered countless new artists from it.

Skype

What can I say? Along with Vonage, Skype keeps my phone bills down to next to nothing, and it is an integral part of my everyday business and personal life. I would trade application sharing for the new video feature in a heartbeat, however.

Technorati

I use it more than Google. No one has launched anything better, yet. And they’ve made great progress in search speed over the latter half of the year.

WordPress

I love WordPress. Actually, let me rephrase that statement: I love WordPress 1.5. Version 2.0 makes me want to throw my laptop out of the window. But it is an amazing piece of software, and all of my blogs run on it.

Yahoo Maps

I use Yahoo Maps because it allows multi-point driving instructions, something none of the others offer yet. This was incredibly useful when I had to attend three or four holiday parties on the same evening.

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