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The 52 best websites you've never heard of

The best, most practical websites, arranged by category

Big names such as Google, Facebook and MySpace dominate the internet. However, the web continues to flourish with a never-ending stream of incredibly useful new sites and services. Here are 52 phenomenally cool web services that you may not have heard of, but definitely need to try.

Sound bigger than you are
Perhaps your company isn't big enough to warrant an expensive VoIP or PBX phone system, or maybe you just want to get started on the cheap.

Phonebooth offers 200 minutes per month of free calling, an auto-attendant and dial-by-name directory, and separate extensions for each of your employees.

Like Google Voice, Phonebooth translates voicemail messages to text and drops them in your email inbox, and it forwards calls to any phone.

However, the service is only currently available to US residents.

Get a virtual receptionist
In these tight economic times, who can afford to hire a secretary? Well, you can, if you check out GenBook.

This free service lets you embed a 'BookNow' button on your company's website, giving your customers a quick and easy way to make an appointment with you.

Meanwhile, the web interface lets you track your schedule and confirm appointments.

If you want to collect payments at the time of booking, to send SMS notifications to your clients, to sync your appointments to another calendar, or to build a comprehensive customer database for your business, the premium service (starting at $20 (£13 per month) will do all of that and more.

Instant messages to everyone
If your friends are scattered across multiple IM platforms, get them all on the same page.

Meebo connects to AIM, Facebook, Google Talk, ICQ, Jabber, MySpace, Windows Live, Yahoo, and more - all through a single web interface that you can access from any of your PCs.

Where are you now?
On the web or on your phone, Foursquare helps you find people and things near you in real time.

Simpler social networking
If you use any combination of Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Twitter, your online social life can be a mess.

Sobees brings all of those sites together in one clean interface, so you can update your status across all four services at once and track all your friends without losing your mind.

Free faxing
You have little reason to maintain a dedicated fax machine if you don't rely on faxes every day, and even less reason to maintain an ongoing account with a premium online fax service.

FaxZero lets you send faxes for free, as long as you don't mind an ad appearing on the cover page.

Just enter your name and email address plus the recipient's name and fax number, attach a document, and send it off. However, it only currently works in the US.

Group text messaging
Whether you're travelling with a group or you just need to keep your whole team connected, Tatango lets you type a text to one number, and then sends it out to an entire group.

The service starts at $24 (15.60) per month for small groups. However, its only currently available in the US

NEXT PAGE: 10 great shopping, dining and travel websites

  1. The best, most practical websites, arranged by category
  2. Even more productivity enhancing websites
  3. Find the right postcode and more
  4. 13 terrific sites for managing media and sharing files
  5. Even more sites to manage media and share files
  6. Dropbox, Dop.io and more
  7. Web services for business and communication
  8. Even more web services for business and communication
  9. 10 great shopping, dining and travel websites
  10. Get a table anywhere and other useful shopping, dinning and travel websites

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