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Webware 100 update: voting opens in a week

While you wait...three cool Web apps you can use today.

For the past few days, Josh and I have been buried in Webware 100 nominations. We've gone through the 5,000-plus entries and whittled them down to about 2,000 qualifying candidates, and we are now extracting the 250 finalists that we are going to put on the ballot for the Webware 100 in a week.

It's been a gratifying process so far. Looking at all the nominees in a big pool has validated, for me, the need not just for these awards but also for the Webware blog itself. Although there is a ton of creativity pouring into Web 2.0 start-ups, there are also a lot of me-too sites. And clearly there are way too many new services for the average mortal to digest every day. I hope Webware is helping people find the good products, and I also hope the Webware 100, when it's complete next month, serves as a useful directory to the best of the Web.

In the meantime, I wanted to highlight a few gems that I came across while going through the nominations. These three products may or may not become finalists, but they're interesting and worth checking out.

  • Cozi is a family organizer. It lets you keep individual calendars for everyone in the family, and puts them all together on one display so you can get a clear idea of who's doing what and when. More important, you can have Cozi sync family appointments into your at-work Outlook schedule, and can select which Outlook appointments you want to show up on the family calendar. I've been looking for something like this for a long time. Katherine Boehret covered this service in April for the Mossberg Solution.
    The Visual Thesaurus view of English CNET Networks

  • Thinkmap has the very engaging Visual Thesaurus. A new twist on your grade-school writing reference, it shows a graphical representation of words that relate to each other, and the chart is navigable and malleable. The first time I tried it, it made me giggle, it's so clever and useful. The only downside is that it's not free if you want to use it regularly.

  • Locr helps you define the location of, or "geocode," your photos. Until cameras come with built-in GPS receivers (it is only a matter of time), encoding your pictures with location data will remain a real pain in the neck. But if you set the clock on your camera correctly, get one of the new GPS recording keychains, and use the Locr service, you can have all your photos geocoded automatically on your PC. Clever. Actually, I'm not sure this is really a Web 2.0 function, but ultimately it will make Web-based photo sites (like Flickr) and mapping services (like Google Earth) better, by helping users encode more of their photos with location data.