When its attendees aren’t drinking margaritas or sharing iPad shortcuts, SXSW Interactive
is first and foremost the premier trial ground for Internet startups. As the launch pad for services such as Twitter
, the conference can be a gauge to determine if an app or service becomes a Facebook or a Friendster. Below are some of the new products and trends that have emerged from the conference this week.
The concept of group text messaging seems so obvious it’s shocking that it’s only a recent trend. Inspired in part by Facebook Groups, group texting applies a unique number to a designated group of friends that can then be used to send one text instantly to everyone approved for the group. Some of the leading services are Fast Society
, the Facebook-owned Beluga
, and Breakout Digital Trend award winner GroupMe
. Not only was everyone at SXSWi talking about group texting...everyone was using it. Now, when news hits of a last minute Sleigh Bells
showcase at SXSW Music, fans can immediately let those who matter know without broadcasting it to all 1,436 of their “friends” and followers.
Technology may’ve made multitasking a way of life, but until new site TaskRabbit
came along, it hasn’t been much help in accomplishing real world tasks. Say someone wants a Korean BBQ taco, but doesn’t have the time to stand in line. One can simply post such an errand on TaskRabbit, upon which pre-vetted “runners” put in bids for the task. Once a runner is selected, payment is transferred through the site. A RabbitRewards
program incents frequent use of the service, and an Employee Perks Program
is available for businesses whose interns have more important things to do than Girl-Friday runs. However, dedicated IKEA Delivery
and Whole Foods Delivery
services may be the greatest draws of all.
Trendcentral’s final SXSW Interactive shout-out goes to a startup that brings the Internet to a community that’s largely overlooked online: the blind. Also the winner of this year’s SXSWi Student award
uses a cutting edge code to access real-time news feeds from sites like Google, Yahoo, CNN and BBC—really, no Daily Show
?—using voice commands. Because the free service is a browser based mashup, it requires no software installation, making it exceptionally easy to use. Having made a swift transition from concept
to realization, this service has enormous potential in welcoming new online audiences that were previously unable to enjoy the Internet and all of its resources.