With Social Media Week underway in Chicago, the local tech community is all abuzz since so many other techies are in town. In fact, it's because of such a vibrant tech community that Chicago was chosen as one of the twelve host cities around the world. Two of this week's picks for "Cool Websites and Apps" are by local developers. (Those highlighted titles are links.)
This is an app (Android only) that can help you save money. Developer Dan Fedor told me about TaxiShare via Google+ this week, touting some new upgrades to the app timed to debut during Social Media Week. Taxi Share allows users to connect with people who may also be heading to popular destinations such as O'Hare or Wrigley Field. You can find other Taxi Share users right on a real time app map. Just as the name implies, you can then share the cab ride and save on the fare. Dan tells me the iPhone version should be out by the end of the year.
I just started using this app last week after hearing about it from WGN entertainment reporter Marcus Leshock. GetGlue launched in 2009 but it debuted a major upgrade for iPhone this week. This app has been growing fast in recent months among people who enjoy watching television. In particular, people who enjoy being social and discussing programs as they're watching. With GetGlue, users check-in to shows and events, much like people check-in at locations on Foursquare. After "checking in" for the "63rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards" the other night, it was interesting to see what viewers were saying about the hosts, the writing and the evening gowns (although you could also do that on a bigger scale via Twitter). A fun part of GetGlue is the stickers. Yes, actual stickers that you earn and then they send to you. Show me the stickers!
This is an awesome website built by my friends at Timelines, the cool Chicago company behind Photogram, one of my favorite photo sharing apps. They were showing me LifeSnapz.com recently and I immediately wondered why they haven't tried to market it more aggressively. LifeSnapz allows families to keep and cultivate photo and video files in one convenient place. Yes, there are other websites that offer such services. But not only does LifeSnapz include mapping tools and a cool timeline, you can use it FOR FREE! Since I have relatives in Asia and in-laws in North Carolina and beyond, I think the most valuable part is the ability to preserve the most cherished family images in a universal space where everyone in the family can access and enjoy them. The extremely time consuming and tough part is setting things up. Obviously, photos from our pre-digital lives have to be scanned and then uploaded. But once they're there, the account can forever be cultivated by future generations. FOR FREE!
As always, I welcome your tips and suggestions for this weekly blog feature. I love websites and apps that are truly unique, useful and fun. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or through any of my usual online hangouts < That's a link. Thanks!