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Some Real-time Goodies

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It’s that time of year again! Yes, the holidays are right around the corner. But I don’t care. I’m more excited about LeWeb ’09, which will take place in Paris on December 9th and 10th.


And since the theme of LeWeb this year is “The Real-Time Web” (a hot topic that we’ve been covering in depth in the NewNet category over on our subscription research service GigaOM Pro) I thought I’d take this opportunity to stuff your stockings with a few real-time goodies.

First, something I can’t wait to get my hands on: WorkSnug. Boys and girls, this is the sexiest thing I’ve seen in a while. It’s an augmented reality iPhone app (s aapl) designed just for people like us. It will magically reveal the nearest establishments with Wi-Fi, from the donut shop down the street to full-fledged coworking spaces. Not only that, there will be reviews of the spots, even down to whether the coffee’s any good. Watch the video and register on the site to get updates. It’s starting with London, then San Francisco, and soon the world! And it’s free!

Next on the goodie list is SpeakLike, an app that uses a combination of machine and human translators to translate your emails and IMs in real time so you really can communicate with the whole world (or at least those who speak any of 30 languages). It also translates dynamic web content. It’s a pay service, but could be handy for clients and collaborators. Translators can sign up to work for the service here.

I just can’t deal with Google Docs, though I know many swear by it. But there’s another option for real-time document collaboration: EtherPad. They promise “really real-time” collaboration; EtherPad docs refresh every half second, while Google Docs refresh every 15 seconds. I don’t know about you, but I can do a lot of typing in 15 seconds. EtherPad also offers infinite undo capability. Even if you can’t think of a way to apply this app to your work, it occurred to me it would be great for helping the kids with their essays and reports, and there are probably lots of other practical and creative applications for it. So do check it out.

More about LeWeb ’09

LeWeb is Europe’s largest, and the world’s second-largest web conference. As such, it attracts la crème de la crème of the web world. Even though it’s in Paris, it’s held in English, so don’t let that stop you from coming. There’s still plenty of time to sign up, and I can tell you where to get good falafel. Let me know if you’ll be there!

We’d love to hear about real-time web apps you use for work or play, and what you’d like the real-time Web to look like.