10 cutting-edge apps you've never heard of

TechRadar is at the DEMO 09 event at Palm Desert, California this week, where start-ups and established firms gather to show off new products and technologies that they hope we'll all get excited about.

And there's been some pretty exciting stuff shown already, as we revealed in yesterday's 10 new apps and gadgets you'll want to get hold of.

Today we bring you the best products and services from day two of DEMO 09.

Everything has gone semantic, low-power and connected...

1. If it's bookmarked, it must be good
If you use Firefox, you're probably using Foxmarks to manage and backup your bookmarks. It's a fantastic free utility - and as Xmarks it now uses that huge bookmarks database to produce a huge reputation engine for the web. If you bookmark a site, you trust it: the more bookmarks, the higher the trust. And if you put other sites in the same folder, they're probably related so it shows those when you check out the first site.

2. Adding semantics to the web
What you choose to read and ignore in your RSS reader says a lot about what you're really interested in; ensembli mines that to refine the stories it presents you with, along with the behaviour of other users and semantic analysis of the story, so results get closer to what you want to see. Sign up for the beta at ensembli.com. Primal Fusion does semantic analysis, too, tagging information with concepts, but it's a platform and we won't see tools until next year .

3. Use evri everywhere
More semantics with evri: search for people, places and things on the evri site to get an 'about' page with standard information, links and pictures. You can jump to other things they're connected to or filter the page by what category they fall into or their activities - anything from Google releasing products to sports teams playing fixtures to American Idol 'being won by'. And now it's a toolbar for IE and Firefox so you can search from any site and see all that information in a pop-up window.

4. Make family tech support easier
Let's face it; if you know anything about computers, friends and family expect you to fix theirs whenever things go wrong. Symantec Guru (no live URL yet) will give you an easy way to connect to their PC remotely (from a Mac or Linux system as well as Windows) without them needing to change firewall settings. You can work on the desktop, transfer files and restart the remote systems, but Symantec will also provide specific tools so you can check for malware, look at what's been recently installed and check the performance of their system and their network connection.

5. Opening the power grid
Save the planet, save money: there are good reasons to use less power but it's hard to do unless you know where the power is actually going. The new prototype Google Power Meter shows your overall power use on a web gadget - and tells you if you're more frugal or profligate than other users. Google wants to build APIs to use it with power meters and information from the electricity supplier. Tendril is already doing that and it has ZigBee-connected smart plugs plus 'power plans' for your home so you can switch from a summer to winter plan (or to an extra-green plan when the budget is tight). Plus it has an iPhone app that you can use as a remote control to switch between plans.

6. Mobile multimedia browsing
Kinoma Play calls itself a multimedia browser rather than a media player and that's fair, given how much it does. You can browse and view Flickr photos and YouTube videos in exactly the same way as local photos and videos. You can play music, podcasts, audio books, internet radio, content from SHOUTcast, Live365, Orb, FLAC files - just about any media file or streaming service you can think of - all through a slick, powerful interface. Windows Media is available today and there's a Symbian version coming soon.


Mary (Twitter, Google+, website) started her career at Future Publishing, saw the AOL meltdown first hand the first time around when she ran the AOL UK computing channel, and she's been a freelance tech writer for over a decade. She's used every version of Windows and Office released, and every smartphone too, but she's still looking for the perfect tablet. Yes, she really does have USB earrings.