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Posts tagged ‘Contacts’

Apollo: Simplified Project Management

We have calendar web apps, to-do lists, address books and project management web apps. Apollo is a new web app that crosses borders and pulls these services together. It features a to-do list, calendar, sophisticated project management app and address book all on the same page.

Apollo was crafted as a modern web app. We see a high level of attention to detail both with the design and the development. New windows slide down like sheets or panels, which will make Mac users feel right at home. Double-clicking on a particular spot on your calendar springs open a window to create a meeting beginning at that time. Tasks with approaching deadlines dispatch an email reminder to your inbox, giving peace of mind knowing you’re staying on top of your priorities. As a new app, we were blown away to see the features we demand in a calendar app or to-do list app are available.

Each of the individual modules seem to be aware of one another. Your projects can be assigned to multiple people, which also appear in your Tasks, and your Tasks also appear on your calendar. Apollo helps eliminate a lot of individual web apps you may already use in order to create one, single web app to handle it all.

It’s new, but missing a few features. We didn’t see an Import function to get your data out of your existing programs and into Apollo. That means manual transcription for your contacts and calendar items, which may be too high of a barrier for users at this point. Also, features like data export and an API are in the works but not available to users. Apollo likely scaled back a few features in order to launch. We’re looking forward to seeing them added.

These objections don’t really represent a cause of concern. Apollo is refined and polished, so create a free account to see how a modern web app should behave. The service is in a private beta at the moment. Email them for an invite code, and be sure to mention Mini Sprout.

Hardtree: Online Business Management

Business owners have quite the toolbox for managing their businesses. They have their email, but they may also use services that cover CRM, billing, accounting, calendar management and group discussions. New startups are taking a stab at pulling all resources together, giving owners one dashboard and an instant snapshot of their business.

Hardtree is an online business management service. The web app is set up like an online collaboration tool with additional enhancements to make it a true holistic service. Logging in to the service reveals your dashboard, which spotlights new messages or support tickets. Move around Hardtree by clicking on one of its fifteen tabs on your dashboard. Tools are organized by task, which means project management falls under “Projects,” leads are housed in “Sales & Stock,” and your accounting ledger appears under “Finance.”

There’s enough room for everyone on your team too. Add users and create groups for multiple users. You can also specify which users or groups access which tasks pretty simply.

Perhaps what makes Hardtree remarkable is yet to be seen by the public. Business management services like these thrive on creating a singular destination to manage activities. Hardtree will have plenty of data about your organization. Their next step is launching a new module called Intelligence. This feature will be able to make recommendations for your business based on your data. Therefore, it will be able to make data-driven business improvements. We have yet to see how and to what extent this new feature will play a role in Hardtree, but it has the potential to become a business owner’s most trusted advisor.

The service is available in paid tiers starting at £9.99 per month. A free trial is also available.

There’s a lot to explore in Hardtree. Owners may not use each component, but they’ll see a benefit when they tailor the space to their demands. In fact, Hardtree is the type of tool that may make its way into your web browser and remain open all day.

Viber: Free Calls Via Your Data Network

Forget about cellular minutes. Viber replaces your mobile’s phone app by providing free calling between other Viber users. International calls come across just as well as local calls, and there’s no charge for crossing continents. Viber pulls in all of your contacts from your address book. Friends who also use the app see the Viber badge adjacent to their name. Tap their name to connect.

What helps distinguish Viber from other services is how it transmits calls. The app runs off your data network, so users can place calls using 3G or wifi. Comparable services, like Google Voice, rely on your phone’s cellular network, which means using minutes and paying for long distance calls. If a friend does not use Viber yet, you can still call using your cellular network or send an invitation to join.

The service supports features you’d expect from a phone app, like recent and missed calls. You can also view missed calls from people who tried reaching you while your phone was off or out of signal range. Push notifications are supported too, so you don’t need to keep the app open to receive calls. SMS is coming soon.

The only thing we see missing from Viber is the ability to leave voice mails. It seems like a highly demanded feature we hope will be added as the service expands.

At the moment, Viber is available as a free download on the iPhone App Store. Android and Blackberry versions are on their way.

We scrubbed their website and privacy policy, and we cannot find any indication of how the service plans to generate revenue. Google Voice and Skype sell credits to connect over a cellular network. Viber may also follow this plan in the future, especially since it wouldn’t diminish any of their current offerings. It’s just that we don’t have any reason to believe so. Until then, enjoy the free calls.

Path: Separate Friends From Frienemies

When Facebook announced email yesterday, it gave us a chance to remember how the social graph has changed relationships. If anything, Facebook has changed the definition of a friend. We no longer use the word acquaintance. Instead, we have friends, frienemies and BFFs. On Facebook, we may have thousands of “friends.”

Path launched yesterday as a new social network in an iPhone app. But what distinguishes Path from all other networks is that a user cannot have more than fifty people in their personal network. Choose your friends carefully.

The service focuses on what’s happening right now. At the moment, the only way to communicate through Path is by taking and uploading photos. It knows that a close group of friends share experiences, values and inside jokes. So when you share a photo with your closest friends, you may not necessarily need to post separately as text.

Path is watching how people use the service closely, and it will almost certainly add more features (like the ability to share text). Don’t look at this as an iPhone network either, since the service is working on apps for more devices. Even with improvements, it has committed to retaining its friend limits per profile.

Hashable: Introductions Via Twitter

Hashable, launched today in private beta, helps people initiate introductions among friends and colleagues across Twitter and email.

If you’re using the service on Twitter, it’s pretty easy to form an introduction. Just tweet the hashtag “#intro”, two Twitter handles and the @hashable Twitter username. The service pulls together biographies using Twitter and LinkedIn and shares it with the two people to help break the ice. To help encourage use, there’s also a scoring system, called HashCred, which rewards users with points for each interaction. Hashable maintains a live feed of who’s connecting publicly, and you will be able to track the status on any introductions you’ve initiated.

Hashable isn’t just for introductions, though. The service can be used for meeting with anyone. Instead of using the “#intro” hashtag, substitute it for #coffee, #lunch, #dinner or any other hashtag. Then, these meetings will be archived on Hashable for your sorting and searching later. You’re really developing your own set of tags, which can change depending on your needs.

At the moment, Twitter is driving the popularity of the service, but you can also request introductions by email and, eventually, your phone. The initial response to Hashable has been outstanding, with users able to get into the closely guarded beta tweeting about how much they like it.

LinkedIn already offers a similar service for referrals. Hashable is seeking to become an alternative. And since you score points across the service for every interaction, it may just be addictive enough to catch on.

Rainmaker: House Social Media Contacts In One Place

We all rely on the address books embedded in our phones, but we know full contact info for each of our friends is available on Facebook and Gmail. Cell phone numbers, work phone numbers and email addresses are available and updated.

The web app Rainmaker allows users to pull their contacts across social networks and create a singular address book. Sign up for the service, grant Rainmaker limited access to your Gmail, Twitter or Facebook accounts, select your friends and import them. That said, the service is completely free to try.

There are a few hoops to jump through in order to get started. For example, the process of allowing your social networking accounts to communicate with Rainmaker requires a few more clicks than ideal. We’re also not entirely sure all of the features incorporated are necessary. Plus, users are limited to 25 contacts under a free account, and then users have to purchase credits and pay $0.25 for each additional contact to add.