DEMO, the conference where companies get six minutes on stage to present their product, kicked off this morning with VentureBeat's Matt Marshall talking social. "It's all about social," said Marshall, explaining that social media companies like Facebook have grown at an unprecedented pace. It took half a century for IBM to hit $1 billion, whereas it only took Facebook a handful of years, he said.
With that in mind, let's take a look at three companies that presented this morning at DEMO and hope to latch on to the ever-expanding social web.
AboutOne describes itself as a "location to manage memories and household information." In short, it looks almost like a Facebook for the familial unit, but with much more utility in mind. It serves as a place to not only store family-related documents (like instructions for the babysitter) but also information like car insurance and other useful documents. The site connects with other services via API, so that you don't even need to enter all of this information manually. Key in your car's VIN number and AboutOne can automatically import the model, make, year and everything else into the system.
The service also serves as an online location to store all sorts of other family-related documents, such as pictures and scans of your children's artwork. From this data, users can create newsletters for friends and family and even create online baby books, which they can then order hard copies of.
PhotoRocket jumps in the try to handle a key space in the social web - photo sharing. Facebook's photo sharing feature is one of its most popular, but photo sharing doesn't end there, with a plethora of other popular services. Where does PhotoRocket come in? It attempts to help users "share photos instantly in one step" to multiple destinations from a variety of platforms. Of course, this isn't the first time we've seen an app attempt this, but it's all in the execution. Just last week, we saw Chute display a similar product, but PhotoRocket tries to edge out competition with an important feature - integration.
PhotoRocket is available on Windows, Mac and iOS (What? No Android?) and shares content to Facebook, Twitter and a host of other sites. According to the company, it steps beyond competition by integrating directly into the operating system and letting users right-click on files, use a browser button or an app to share.
Social Eyes, an ambitious app that lists among its competition some big hitters like Skype, is a "social video service that instantly connects you to your friends and groups of people who share your interests." So how does this differ from Skype? Social Eyes is a video and text chatting service that is centered on your existing social graph. You sign in using your Facebook login and it automatically populates your list of contacts according to your Facebook friends that have also signed up.
Social Eyes also does something Skype doesn't do - it organizes other users around interests, so you can join groups like "Current Events" or create your own group based on your interests. Beyond that, you can also record and send video messages to other users, so not everything has to be live. What keeps Social Eyes potentially a bit more above board than other live video chat services like Tiny Chat or Chat Roulette is its authenticated identity by way of Facebook Connect. Using Facebook Connect leads to greater accountability, and wearing of pants, than purely anonymous systems.