2007: Web 2.0 Companies I Couldn't Live Without


A year ago I wrote a post called “Web 2.0 Companies I Couldn’t Live Without” and listed thirteen startups whose products made a real impact in my life. Those were the products that I loved, and used every day. I enjoyed sorting through the hundreds of startups that we had written about, and picking just a handful that made a real impact on my life. It was so much fun, actually, that I’m updating the list this year.

Seven of the companies are still on the list. Six have dropped off to make room for new products, and I’ve added two more to round out the list to fifteen total products. Here’s the current list, in alphabetical order, of products I use every day and couldn’t live without:


Jingle’s free 411 service has saved me a serious amount of cash this last year. They now account for over 3% of the U.S. market for information calls, and AT&T has announced that they are going to copy them. That’s good news for consumers, who have to pay up to $3.50 per 411 call today. Our coverage is here.

Amie Street

Amie Street, which launched in July, has a brilliant DRM-free music sales model. Bands upload music, which can then be downloaded for free by users. As songs become popular, the site starts to charge for it. They start at $0.01 and go up to $0.99. Users looking for popular new stuff go right to the more expensive songs. More adventurous types try out lots of new music. I’m somewhere in the middle. This free-market place to set the value of DRM-free digital music could be the future. Our coverage is here.

Ask City

Bloglines dropped off the list this year, but another Ask.com property, the recently launched Ask City, has been added. In our very subjective opinion Ask City has replaced Yahoo Maps as the best mapping product on the Internet. My favorite features are multipoint directions an the annotation tools that allow you to draw and write on a map before forwarding to friends. Ask City is less than a month old and it’s already one of our favorite apps. Our writeup is here.


BlueDot is a social bookmarking service that is similar to del.icio.us. I’ve started using it instead of del.icio.us becasue I like the interface better and it allows sharing of bookmarks just among friends, whereas with del.icio.us you have to choose between fully public and fully private bookmarks. The company launched in July and had an update in October.


Anyone who reads this blog knows my position on Digg, where users pick what news makes it to the home page. It’s the future of news, and the most disruptive force to mainstream media since blogs were born. Digg has to continue to battle spam while pleasing its most active users, which won’t be easy. But I use the Digg site every day. Our coverage of Digg is here.


Flickr is our first holdover from last year’s list. In the last year we’ve seen a bunch of startups gunning for Flickr, but as of now it is still the photo tagging and sharing site that we use every day. The new geotagging feature is incredible. We’d like to see facial recognition, similar to what Ookles is doing, next. Our coverage of Flickr is here.


We’ve been fans of Flock since we first started covering it during the original Bar Camp in August 2005. It just feels like a complete ecosystem rather than the hodge podge of sometimes incompatible additional add-ons that you get with Firefox. If Flock didn’t exist I’d be a happy Firefox user, but it does, and I use it as my primary browser. The rumor is that they have a big new release coming very soon. Our coverage of Flock is here.


Despite recent problems, I think Gmail is now at least as functional as most desktop email applications (like Outlook and Mac Mail), and darn close to perfect. The reason? Lots of storage, the ability to tag emails and the recent addition of POP access to other email accounts. All for the great price of – free.


I’ve used NewsGator’s NetNewsWire desktop feed reader from the moment I switched to a Mac in early 2006. It’s not free, but having fast and offline access to feeds was worth the $30 I paid for it. Bloglines dropped off the list because of NetNewsWire, although I expect to be moving over to Google Reader in the near future. Offline access is less important now that I have EVDO cellular access, and Google Reader made significant improvements to its product in its September upgrade.


Netvibes is another holdover from last year. We go there multiple times per day to get a quick overview of a few important feeds. The company continues to gain users at a torrid pace, and has plenty of money in the bank after a $15 million round earlier this year. My guess is Netvibes is fending off multiple acquisition offers at this point, and may not be an independent entity at the end of 2007. Our coverage of Netvibes is here.


Pandora is yet another holdover from last year, and a company that we’ve covered since before its launch in 2005. My bet is that I’ve racked up more hours listening to music on Pandora than any other user – it’s almost always playing while I write. Millions of loyal users agree with me. Our coverage is here.


Skype may be the single biggest productivity booster since email. I use it as my primary instant messaging client, and of course for free on the fly calls almost daily. Skype is one of the Internet’s killer apps. Our coverage of Skype is here.


TechMeme is the blogosphere’s daily newspaper, and one of the sites we use most often in seeing how stories develop. Stuff on TechMeme hits the New York Times and other newspapers days later. My father is as addicted to Techmeme’s political sister site, Memorandum, as I am to the technology news area. Our coverage of TechMeme is here and here.


We’ve been mostly happy customers of WordPress since TechCrunch started. It’s the most flexible blogging platform, and their Akismet comment spam blocking service has saved us from nearly 1 million spammy comments. We’d have to hire a full time person just to moderate comments and trackbacks if Akismet wasn’t as good as it is. Our coverage of WordPress is here.


YouTube is far from being a young startup, having been acquired by Google for $1.65 billion earlier this year. And even though they sent us a cease & desist letter just two months ago, we remain YouTube addicts. Fire Engines! Bananas! Humanity is a beautiful thing. Earlier YouTube coverage is here.

Almost on the List

A few companies almost made the list as well – AllOfMP3, AllPeers, Last.fm, Meebo, Wikipedia and Zoho were right on the edge, as well as others. I just had to cut the list off somewhere.

Agree? Disagree? Tell me all about it in the comments.

More TechCrunch

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

1 day ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

1 day ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?

Strava announced a slew of features, including AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, a new ‘family’ subscription plan, dark mode and more.

Strava taps AI to weed out leaderboard cheats, unveils ‘family’ plan, dark mode and more

We all fall down sometimes. Astronauts are no exception. You need to be in peak physical condition for space travel, but bulky space suits and lower gravity levels can be…

Astronauts fall over. Robotic limbs can help them back up.

Microsoft will launch its custom Cobalt 100 chips to customers as a public preview at its Build conference next week, TechCrunch has learned. In an analyst briefing ahead of Build,…

Microsoft’s custom Cobalt chips will come to Azure next week

What a wild week for transportation news! It was a smorgasbord of news that seemed to touch every sector and theme in transportation.

Tesla keeps cutting jobs and the feds probe Waymo