Last night we released the finalist names for the Crunchies Awards. Vote here for who you think should win. We’ve set up a site that is pretty self-explanatory, with all of the names of each finalist for every category, along with links to their Websites and Crunchbase profiles where you can learn more about each one before voting. The Crunchies represents the best the Web had to offer in 2008, and you get to help choose who will win. Below is a voter’s guide for two of the major categories to get you started.
Best Overall is the big prize. Amazon Web Services makes it as a finalist this year because of the sheer number of startups that are built on top of its cloud computing infrastructure. Facebook won last year, but makes a return as a nominee due to popular demand. Facebook continued to gain massive mainstream adoption in 2008 (with 140 million members now) and launched some major initiatives to extend its social computing platform beyond its site, most notably Facebook Connect (which by itself is a finalist for Best Technology Innovation, going up against Google Friend Connect). But does Facebook deserve to win again?
This was also the year that Google launched its Android phone, bringing the unadulterated Web to mobile devices beyond the iPhone (which won Best Gadget last year for its 2G version). Hulu emerged as a rarity in the Web video world, a popular site with a serious revenue model. And Twitter broke out as the service everyone can’t stop talking (or Tweeting) about. As with any new communication technology, people keep finding novel ways to use Twitter’s public instant-messaging service.
This category recognizes the best startup to launch publicly in 2008. Dropbox makes it dead-simple to transfer files between computers. It creates a Dropbox folder on your computer that you just drag files into, and then they become available to anyone else with access to that folder. FriendFeed sparked the whole lifestreaming movement this year, and kept adding improvements that makes it easier to filter the Web through the actions of everyone in your various social networks. GoodGuide has created an impressive product database (and iPhone app) that tells you at a glance how green or safe that baby cream or toy is that you just put in your shopping cart.
Tapulous created some of the most popular iPhone apps with Tap Tap Revenge, Tap Tap Dance, and Twinkle (a Twitter client, of course), despite some internal turmoil. Topspin Media, founded by former Yahoo Music chief Ian Rogers, is trying to help bring the music industry into the 21st Century by embracing the Internet as a marketing vehicle instead of a necessary evil. And Yammer is an enterprise version of Twitter which won the top prize at this year’s TechCrunch50.
Here are the finalists for some of the other categories. To see a complete list, go to the Crunchies site and vote for who you think should win. Voting ends January 5.
Best Technology Innovation
Google Friend Connect
Windows Live Mesh
Best New Gadget
Asus 1000 Netbook Computer
Flip MinoHD video camera
Best Mobile App
Google Mobile (for iPhone)
Imeem Mobile (for Android)
Pandora Radio (for iPhone)
rolando (for iPhone)
ShopSavvy (for Android)
Ocarina (for iPhone)
Most Likely To Make the World a Better Place