SF New Tech picks: Lunch-o-tron meets comment-o-meter

Live at SF New Tech Meetup: Conduit, SezWho, US4Real, GlobalMotion, and CrazyMenu

Rafe Needleman Former Editor at Large
Rafe Needleman reviews mobile apps and products for fun, and picks startups apart when he gets bored. He has evaluated thousands of new companies, most of which have since gone out of business.
Rafe Needleman
2 min read

I'm at the San Francisco New Tech Meetup tonight, immersed in Web 2.0 startupville. Tonight's lineup of pitches:

Conduit. A utility for making toolbars to go with your blog or site. We recently covered the tool's new capability that lets the user swap between different toolbars they've installed. The concept is interesting: It lets site publishers put their sites into toolbars. I didn't expect users to take up this idea, but the company's executives report strong growth and more than 12 million users.

SezWho. This is an interesting system that allows users to rate other users' content, like their uploaded videos and blog comments. It's distributed, so if you have a good reputation as a contributor on one site and then you go to a new site, you good reputation can go with you, as well as links to all your contributions on other sites. Requires site owners to install links or plug-ins on their site, and SezWho then gets all the data, which it distributes to member sites. Interesting, since it knocks a few bricks out of the walls that sites tend to build up around their user bases. Very good for the new media powerhouse: the blog network.

US4real. Yet another real estate mashup that combines data on cost of living, crime, school performance, etc., with real estate and rental listings. It's a bit rough at the moment, and there are several very well-funded companies in this space. Also, it returns data only by city, not neighborhood--that's not specific enough. It does appear to have a comprehensive listing of houses and rentals, though, and it has a cool feature that flags houses whose prices have dropped a lot recently. Also, it will let you draw an outline around an area you're interested in, and will e-mail you when houses on it go up for sale. Cool.

GlobalMotion. This is a wiki focused on locations, maps, and geotagged images. It's an interesting way to navigate geodata, and it reads in location-tagged images already on EveryTrail, Panoramio, and Flickr, which is kind of neat. A good question from the audience, though: Why not just contribute this functionality to Wikipedia, which already has about 200,000 entries about locations? The answer wasn't very satisfying.

CrazyMenu. This was my favorite site of the evening. It's a utility for business lunching. It helps you corral co-workers together for a lunch, decide where to go, and even create group orders that you can transmit to your restaurant before you get there. Since I love lunch, I look forward to trying this out. Great idea.