A new kind of Web - don't miss these 11 sites

Check out these examples of how the Web is evolving to present information in new ways

Call them Web 2.0 sites or mashups - or come up with your own trendy term. Whatever you call them, there are sites popping up all over the Web that process information in new ways rather than just present it.

Some of them work with information you supply, letting you manipulate, track and share data, such as your schedule or your to-do list. Others, so-called mashups, draw data from different sites and reassemble it to make something new. They're all part of how the Web is evolving beyond just a bunch of point sources for information. Here are 11 examples that show what the new Web can do, from helping you organize your life to adding some personalized fun to it.

Personal assistants

GrandCentral

Ever wish you could exercise the same control over incoming phone calls as you do over e-mail? GrandCentral - now a Google operation - gives you a new phone number and forwards incoming calls to any other number or numbers you specify.

Depending on who the call is from, you can have it ring through to your work phone, home phone, cell or all at once. You can also direct some calls right to voice mail - with different greetings for different callers - and retrieve your voice mail via any browser. Perhaps best of all, you can permanently block calls from anyone you don't want to hear from ever again.

Highrise

Highrise is an online CRM tool. Basically, it's an easy-to-use database for contacts, reminders and notes. Because it's online, you can share it across your company or team anywhere there is access to a browser.

Highrise offers a free account for up to two users that can store 250 contacts, a Max account at $149 per month for unlimited users and 50,000 contacts, and several levels in between. You can even forward e-mails to a drop box associated with your account, and Highrise adds it as a note on the sender's or recipient's contact page, along with any attached files.

Jott

Jott is for those times when you're away from your computer - but not from your phone - and you think of something you need to do the next day or want to be reminded of next week. You just call Jott and dictate your message. Jott translates your message to text and e-mails it to you or anyone else whose name and address you've registered.

If the event is in the future, you can tell Jott to send you an e-mail or text message as a reminder. You can also use Jott to post to your blog or to Twitter, or to add tasks to your to-do lists on Remember the Milk (see below) and other such sites.

Remember the Milk

Remember the Milk is an online to-do list manager with a clean, straightforward interface that raises it above some of its competitors.

As with any desktop calendar program, you create a list of tasks and set due dates - which you can do with natural-language modifiers such as "tomorrow" or "in two weeks" - and, if you want, set them to repeat according to a regular schedule. You can add tasks by entering them in your browser or by e-mailing them to Remember the Milk.

Where Remember the Milk beats most desktop programs is its ability to send you a reminder via e-mail, SMS or instant messenger. You can also share your lists with family or team members and let them add tasks too, something impossible with a desktop program outside a server environment.

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Jake Widman

Computerworld
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