Under the Radar live: Welcome to the social

What's the next big thing for social networking? These four companies think they know.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--Social networking has clearly been a hot space in the last couple of years. With sites like MySpace selling for $580 million back in 2005 and with the recent valuation of Facebook at a staggering $15 billion, everyone's looking to get a piece of the action. The four companies pitching their Webwares at Tuesday morning's Under the Radar social media and entertainment conference here, are all about social networking, and changing the way we interact with our friends and families.

Jygy is a service for mobile phones that lets you use cell phones as a voting system. You can set up polls with tags, pictures, and multiple choice answers. What makes the product interesting is that you can set up little "rooms" that are essentially themed groups of callers.

The tool works on several platforms including the iPhone, Facebook, and WAP (wireless application protocol) phones. Tuesday morning, the company unveiled its OpenSocial app that works just like it does on Facebook with friends list integration.

To make money, Jygy lets pollers charge and put advertising on the Web and text polling pages, then takes a small cut of that.

Nesting, which is currently in private beta and launching in three weeks demonstrated its social-networking utility for families. Instead of going after friends and people who share your interests (and possible hook-up preferences), the site is a "getting things done" tool with a splash of Netvibes for parents and their children. For now the site is using proprietary scheduling, contact list management, and blog tools, though in the future it will link up with services you're already using.

Nesting.com's president, Joe Bellissmo, pitched the company as a "contextual" aid for the calendaring and social grind. FirstAnnouncement.com sister site. Members are already Nesting.com users and get photos of babies transferred over to Nesting.com accounts.

In the demonstration, Bellissmo showed off the tool's phone book and calendaring tools--something that lets your kids set up appointments, play dates with friends, and more. While that sounds great, I doubt most children are planning that far ahead.

Vivaty is another service that's come along with a 3D virtual world that lets you experience the Web. Much like The Sims or Second Life you've got an avatar and walk around a world that's been ingrained with sites and services you use. However, unlike those popular 3D games, there's no software to install outside of a small browser plug-in.

The service has its own portal, but Web masters and blog owners can integrate it into their own sites. There's also a Facebook application that Vivaty's CEO Keith McCurdy demonstrated. His virtual world pulled in photos from Flickr and videos from YouTube, and took his wall and put it onto a virtual message board. Missing however were the users, with only one other person for McCurdy to text chat with.

Vivaty users can create their own virtual houses. Seen here is a bachelor pad with pictures of ex-presidents and McLovin. Vivaty

Rounding out the session was Xumii, a contact management tool that pulls in names and numbers from popular social networks in a similar fashion to Plaxo. It blends in status messages from Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, and more. It also doubles as a group SMS tool, letting you create custom private groups that you can communicate with all at once.

Besides doubling as a big phone book, you can chat with people live or leave them messages when they're offline. It lets you tap into popular IM networks like AIM and MSN Live Messenger.

More to come from the Under the Radar conference here. Stay tuned.

About the author

Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.

 

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