25 Web Sites to Watch

25 Web Sites to Watch

Five Ways to Create and Share

These services help you put your thoughts together and publish them on the Web, whether you're most comfortable talking, shooting video, or just typing.

Of course your friends and family want to see all of your pictures from your Venetian vacation - but wouldn't it be better if they could also hear your voice, telling you cool details about what they're looking at, or narrating a story regarding some gondola hijinks?

Yodio lets you combine photos with sound files to create an audio postcard. To make a recording, call a special Yodio phone number and start talking (or you can record your own MP3 file and upload it). Once you've transferred photos to the site, you can add sound and publish your postcard on the Web for others to admire. The site also has a scheme for making money from your productions, though we wouldn't bet the farm on it.

Meebo Rooms
You may have heard about Meebo, the Web-based instant messaging program that lets you communicate with people over various IM services, such as AOL Instant Messenger and Yahoo.

Well equally cool is Meebo's newest launch, Meebo Rooms, which lets you participate in multimedia chats. You'll find chat rooms on everything from sports to SpongeBob Squarepants, and the rooms support videos and photos that you can discuss with fellow fans. If you can't find a topic you're interested in, simply create a new room and post visuals for others to discuss. You can even embed rooms into your site or blog, and use them to lure people to your own Web destination.

Got an obsession or special passion you want to convey to the world? Squidoo is your ticket. Using the site's simple tools, you can build a "lens" (aka, a Web page) that includes information on any topic that's close to your heart, whether it's cats or Kafka.

A lens can be quite different from a blog. With lenses, you share links to resources, book recommendations, YouTube videos, Flickr photos, eBay auction items, and other cool Web content related to a single subject. Even if you don't build your own lens, the site is worth visiting to see what others have done. You can learn a lot more about lemonade or laptop bags than you ever thought possible.

For anyone who has ever dreamed of becoming a broadcast mogul, here's a quick (and free) way to get a taste of what it might be like. SplashCast lets you create your own streaming media channel that combines video, music, photos, text, narration, and RSS feeds. A wizard walks you through the steps of building your channel. Start by uploading media files from your hard drive, or point to files on other sites. Add captions, commentary, and RSS feeds, and your channel is ready to go. Once you're done finessing your channel, you can send it to friends and family, or syndicate it to blogs and social networking sites. So far, there's no way for you to make money from your channels, but the site plans to start a revenue-sharing model.

To create a video all you have to do is point your cell phone, digital camera, or camcorder at something, press a button, and stay focused. The result: an instant movie. What's not so easy, though, is organising, editing, and combining your video clips to create something aesthetically pleasing. Eyespot simplifies this process. Upload your videos to the site, and then use its tools to crop and mix them either with other clips you supply or with free video from the site. You can even add effects, transitions, and titles before publishing your video mix for the world to see.

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Preston Gralla

Preston Gralla

PC World (US online)
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