We've rounded up five internet startups that are putting a unique spin on Web 2.0, offering exciting products and services.

There's no doubt that Web 2.0 is the buzz word of the tech industry at the moment. But are any companies actually putting a new spin on Web 2.0 and offering new and unusual websites and services?

Well, yes, it seems. At the Web 2.0 Summit which took place in the US last week, several internet startups displayed their take on the Web 2.0 concept. We've rounded up five that you should be watching.

Everyscape

The best way to understand what Everyscape is trying to do is to think of Google Street View, then add the ability to virtually leave the street and explore the insides of the shops, restaurants and other businesses adjacent to it. The company actually goes out into the streets with its cameras and takes GPS-tagged pictures, including from inside the businesses.

So, using Everyscape, you could look up a restaurant on the internet, check out the menu, then go into the 3D representation of the place to see whether you like the vibe of the place. You can also send this experience to a friend and post notes inside the virtual environment ('if the place is crowded. meet me right here by the bar at 8:30').

Everyscape was also demonstrated on the iPhone; the use of the touchscreen gestures to navigate through various Everyscape locations was truly impressive. Whether it is Everyscape or some other company, this method of representing real places digitally on the internet is something I'm sure we'll all use regularly in the future.

GoodGuide

GoodGuide is founded on the idea that we know very little about the products we buy at the supermarket, beyond what the makers tell us with their marketing mumbo jumbo.

So GoodGuide is an easy-to-use website where you can punch in a given product, and get back the chemical make-up of the product, the green credibility of the company that makes it for example is the manufacturing process eco-friendly, and the social consciousness of the company that makes it ('is the product made with child labour?').

GoodGuide scores products on all of these things (providing specific data in each area), and a composite score. What really turned me on was the new iPhone app, which the company showed off during their Launch Pad presentation. This means that you can get all the GoodGuide information on your phone when you are actually in the aisles of the grocery store. And the design of the iPhone app just couldn't have been simpler. It starts with general product types - only US brands right now - then lets the user quickly move through the hierarchical menu system to get to the specific product they're considering.

NEXT PAGE: Even more Web 2.0 companies to watch

  1. Web startups offering new and unusual services
  2. Even more Web 2.0 companies to watch
  3. Sungevity

Visit Broadband Advisor for the latest internet news, reviews, tips & tricks - and to take advantage of PC Advisor's unique, independent Broadband Speed Tester

We've rounded up five internet startups that are putting a unique spin on Web 2.0, offering exciting products and services.

Predictify

A friend of mine hipped me to this site a few days ago, so I was pleased to see them in the Launch Pad competition here. Predictify is an online platform where users enter their best guesses on anything from who will be elected president, to what consumer confidence numbers will be in six months, to whether Brittney Spears will have another baby in 2009.

The freaky thing is that Predictify's version of the 'wisdom of the crowd' model is that it typically yields eerily accurate predictions. For instance, the site's users have predicted major economic shifts more accurately than economics experts on several occasions. I suspect Predictify will pick up a lot more traffic in coming months, and that the site's predictive powers will be all the better for it.

Qik

Up next was Qik. This startup helps people share live mobile phone video quickly and simply. Application: a couple in the UK broadcasts live mobile phone video at the Qik website so that Grandma in India can watch, and, conceivably, send back her own live mobile phone video. I must say that the service looked really simple to use - it took the presenter all of two seconds to begin streaming video of the audience to the Qik website at the very start of the presentation.

After you are finished streaming your video live over Qik, the video is automatically archived at the site. And, if you set it up to do so, Qik sends the videos to YouTube, your blog, or to your page on Facebook. Using Qik does not require a fancy smartphone - an inexpensive Java-based mobile phone will do.

NEXT PAGE: Sungevity

  1. Web startups offering new and unusual services
  2. Even more Web 2.0 companies to watch
  3. Sungevity

Visit Broadband Advisor for the latest internet news, reviews, tips & tricks - and to take advantage of PC Advisor's unique, independent Broadband Speed Tester

We've rounded up five internet startups that are putting a unique spin on Web 2.0, offering exciting products and services.

Sungevity

The last company to present was a bit of an oddity. Sungevity is a platform that helps you order solar panels for your home, then organises the installation. The site uses a Google Earth-type satellite application to locate your house, so that it can suggest the best kind of solar panel for the climate you live in. You buy the panel with a credit card online, then Sungevity ships the hardware to you and arranges for a local technician to install it.

Sungevity says the whole process can take as little as three weeks. The company says it simplifies the distribution channel (bypasses middlemen) which lowers costs for the customer. From a Web 2.0 perspective Sungevity seems kind of boring, but the idea of using the internet to ease the process of moving folks over to greener energy is undeniably laudable. Sadly it currently only works in the US.

  1. Web startups offering new and unusual services
  2. Even more Web 2.0 companies to watch
  3. Sungevity

Visit Broadband Advisor for the latest internet news, reviews, tips & tricks - and to take advantage of PC Advisor's unique, independent Broadband Speed Tester