By Victor Hernandez, CNN
July 20, 2011 1:52 p.m. EDT
(CNN) -- Technology can make your life easier, but
figuring out which tech tools to trust can be
tiresome at the least and eye-poppingly stressful
To help, here's a list of 50 recently released or
updated websites and apps that will make your
mobile photos look better, improve your online
social life and boost your productivity.
This list is by no means all-inclusive, so feel
free to tell us about your favorite tech tools in
the comments section or on Twitter. We're @cnntech.
Google Plus (free): It's too soon to tell whether
Google's latest social network is social media's
new king of the hill. However, one thing's for
sure: The initial user reviews are very positive,
and the strong bundling of social innovations make
Google Plus -- often described as "Google's
Facebook" -- worth the test drive.
Google Plus Nickname (free): Now that you've jumped
in the Plus-pool, time to head over to Gplus.to for
your own personalized URL.
Facebook-Skype (free): Made official last week at
Mark Zuckerberg's recent announcement at Facebook
headquarters, the service isn't yet available for
all users. Users take advantage of the
video-calling feature via Facebook without having
to install any software. Some are criticizing the
service for falling short of the Google+ hangout
feature, where users can join group video calls up
to 10 people. Facebook's video chat is only one-on-one.
Tout (free): Virtually no one had heard of this
micro-video service until Shaquille O'Neal used it
to recently announce his retirement from pro
basketball. After garnering more half a million
views in three hours, Tout had arrived with a
splash, thanks to the larger-than-life hoops
superstar. Capture 15-second videos and instantly
share with family and friends. Downside: A Flash
player is required to watch videos (sorry, iPad users).
Capture (99 cents): If you have kids and love
recording those "first-moments," this app is
probably worth considering. Once you install
Capture, tap the app, and it starts recording video
immediately. Once you're done, the video goes
straight to your camera roll. No more missing
moments by a split second.
Broadcastr (free): You bring the audio and plot the
journey. Broadcastr weaves the story. This new
social media platform enables the recording,
organizing, listening and sharing of audio content
on a map-based interface. Also works as great
discovery tool for exploring personal and
historical stories in new places. Available for
iPhone and Android.
Turntable.fm (free): The service combines
music-streaming, chat rooms and voting, all through
a Facebook portal. Friends either vote up (awesome)
your tunes or they go the other direction (lame).
Whether or not you're a big music fan, this product
is very hip and very addictive.
Spotify (free/paid): After years of drooling with
envy, music fans on the U.S. side of the pond now
get a chance to stream with Spotify. The extremely
popular music service in Europe finally
soft-launched last week in the U.S. For the first
time, major record companies in the U.S. have
embraced an online music service that lets people
play the songs of their choice for free.
Instagr.am (free): The good times just keep on
rolling for the social photo sharing service --
after all, how many Web companies can boast more
millions of users than individual employees?
Five-plus million users and growing for the
service, which remains available only for Apple
iPhone. Instagram has done for bad cell phone pics
what GPS navigation did for confused motorists. If
imitation is the greatest form of flattery, the
spinoffs and third-party apps are lining up.
Followgram.me (free): This Web app helps offset one
of Instagram's primary limitations: no official
website for users to log in, view and readily share
photos. Followgram creates an Instagram follow
button to be embedded on websites and blogs.
Followgram also provides its users with a vanity
URL, his/her photo gallery, friends, followers and
following lists. Moreover, a Followgram user's page
is fully customizable.
Webstagram (free): Another simple, aesthetically
pleasing Web interface for viewing your Instagram
photos as well as your Instagram peeps.
Postagram (99 cents): Makes it easy to send
Instagram, Facebook and mobile phone photos as real
postcards from your iPhone, iPod touch or Android
phone. Imagine that: Photos that you can actually
hold in your hands!
Keepsy ($29.99): Not able to view, print and share
your Instagram portfolio? Not a problem with
Keepsy: customize and order photo albums.
Tumblr iPhone 2.0 (free): The upgrade offers
valuable upgrades: There's a new interface, it's
easier than ever to create posts, it's much easier
to reply to messages, there's address book
integration, and now new users can begin building
inside the mobile app. Tumblr has begun distancing
itself from other micro-blogging publishing sites
and now has a mobile experience that matches its
Klout (free): The days of measuring one's social
media reach simply by number of followers, friends
or connections is ancient history. Web tools like
Klout are starting to measure the influence you
have over your digital minions.
Empire Ave (free): It bills itself as the Social
Stock Market, where you can grow your social
capital online. Here's how it works: You discover
people online and then based on scores or share
price invest virtual currency in their profiles by
buying shares in the Social Stock Market. After a
bit, you'll get used to the weirdness of having
strangers bid "social shares" on your "social
wares." Sounds kooky, but all the cool kids are
Sonar (free): This app is kind of like a good party
host: It introduces you to whoever else is in the
room by leveraging what you have in common. Ease of
use for navigating who's nearby and how to
virtually connect with them makes this
location-based app a must-have. Available for the
Bizzy (free): A Web and mobile service for
personalized local business recommendations. Bizzy
recently updated its iPhone and Android apps to
introduce a "Check Out" feature. Users can now
check out to leave short, emoticon-style reviews of
venues on their way out the door. The Bizzy venue
checkout is meant to be the opposite of the
check-in, which we've seen in a slew of
applications, from Foursquare to Facebook Places.
Crowdbeacon (free): Craving the best sushi joint
around, and prefer human interaction over indexed
user reviews? Crowdbeacon can help. Crowdsourcing
your social life, this is a location-based service
focused on providing relevant, localized
communication and information to users based on
what they need and where they are.
Apptitude (free): This is a bit stalkerish, but for
those curious about the Facebook apps your friends
are using (and when they're using them), check out
this iPhone app. Then feel free to razz your
friends over how much time they're really spending
Shortmail (free): The Twitter effect. This app
doesn't limit your emails to famous 140 characters.
Instead, it forces brevity and concise thoughts via
500 characters. Let's face it, who isn't drowning
in e-mail overload these days? It's unclear whether
Shortmail will catch on ... but we can all dream,
Visualize.me (free): Standard formatted resumes
just aren't cool anymore. You know what's cool?
Infographic resumes. This site provides a creative
way of getting your foot in the door at the
workplace you so covet. Visualize.me is set to
launch later this month to beta invitees, then the
public in August.
Gabacus (paid): Navigating the massive Twitter
firehouse is nearly impossible without a little
help. Gabacus makes sense of the millions of tweets
per day by summarizing and curating the topics
you're interested in.
Regator (free/paid): Another tool that helps you
easily find, read and share high-quality blog posts
about things that interest you. It is available on
the Web and iPhone. Rather than automatically
fetching every blog under the sun, Regator uses
qualified human editors to carefully select the
most relevant, useful, well-written blogs across
Getaround (fees): Isn't it time you took advantage
of your ride as it sits in the driveway or parking
lot? This mobile app (currently only available in
select cities) turns you into Enterprise Rental or
Hertz by letting you loan out your car when it's
not in use. Renters access your vehicle via an
iPhone app after terms are agreed upon.
Do@ (free): Do@ doesn't index pages. Instead, it
shows live sites or apps that have been optimized
for mobile presentation. It's similar to Google's
preview functionality for mobile, but all the pages
on do@ are live and not cached.
NASA (free): The NASA app for iPhone and iPad has
been around for a couple years, but the Android
version just hit the Marketplace. It offers a huge
collection of NASA content, including images,
videos on demand, NASA TV, mission info and social
media extensions. Definitely worth a look for all
Twylah (free): Showcase your tweets in a more
complete narrative story. Super-easy to use and a
much better storefront for your Twitter brand than
the somewhat wonky Twitter stream.
SkinScan ($4.99): This app helps you analyze and
keep an archive of moles on you or members of your
family, for later review and comparison of the
results. SkinScan displays several disclaimers that
the app is to be used for strictly informational
purposes, but it's nonetheless pretty interesting
to see how personal tech is impacting everyday
Formulists (free): By far the easiest way to create
and manage Twitter Lists. This application lets you
organize Twitter into smart, auto-updating Twitter
lists: filter based on location/bio keywords,
Twitter activity and more.
FreeTime (free): Wondering where your day went?
FreeTime can help. Using nothing more than the
calendar on your smartphone, this productivity app
finds time between your events. Powerful filtering
allows you to locate your free time in any setting.
Redbox (free): More and more movie watchers are
turning to services like Redbox. This simple mobile
app helps narrow down where the nearest rental
kiosk is located via GPS, find out whether they
have your desired flick in stock and if you chose
to register, can even reserve the DVD. Don't forget
the buttered popcorn.
Appstart (free): Seconds after you've removed your
shiny new iPad from the box, this is without a
doubt the first app you should download. It's a
great starter assistant for finding relevant
applications based on your tastes.
Evernote (free/paid): One of the most acclaimed
productivity apps around. Evernote boasts a suite
of software and services designed for note taking
and archiving. A "note" can be a piece of
formattable text, a full Web page or an excerpt, a
photograph, a voice memo or a handwritten "ink"
note. Notes can also have file attachments.
Evernote Peek (free): Flash cards for the digital
generation! Peek is the first Smart Cover learning
app. Connect Peek to your Evernote account and
brush up on a language, make flashcards for a quiz
or test yourself based on your Evernote contents.
Photos 3D for FB (free): It's a 3-D photo viewer
for Facebook. In this app you can easily browse,
comment, share photos and so on. You've never
viewed photos like this.
FavFriends (free): Who doesn't need help breaking
through the Facebook friend clutter? This service
provides real-time notifications when a favorite
Facebook friend posts a new status. Also you can
sleep better knowing you'll never miss a friend who
checked in somewhere when you were nearby at the
Katango (free): Personal crowd control! This
messaging app for the iPhone automatically groups
together your contacts by life stage or activity.
So groupings will include family members, high
school friends, college buddies, co-workers and so
forth. The application plucks out your address book
contacts and Facebook friends and organizes these
folks into groups based on patterns of previous
social interactions. You can then tweak the groups
to your liking and start sending photos or messages
to particular groups.
Peel (free): This app is a handy little guide to
point TV fanatics in the right direction for what's
on the air. New hardware upgrades offer universal
remote control option for all of your
television/audio home equipment ($99).
Twicsy (free): View top Twitter picture trends and
popular pictures. This app is functional and easy
to use. It's beginning to stand out in the Twitter
Pixable (free/paid): It's no secret that photos are
by far the most-shared pieces of content of
Facebook. To that end, it ain't easy keeping up
with the piles of pics. This app for iPhone, iPad
and Web pushes the most commented, tagged and
shared pics to the top of your radar.
True HDR ($1.99): Create full-resolution HDR (high
dynamic range) pictures on your iPhone (4, 3GS),
iPod Touch (4G) or iPad (2).
iMotion HD (free/paid): An intuitive and easy to
use time-lapse and stop-motion app for iOS devices.
Take pictures, edit your movie and export HD 720p
videos to your device or directly to YouTube.
iPhone SLR Mount ($249): Size matters! This
case-adapter combo lets you mount your Canon EOS or
Nikon SLR lenses to your iPhone 4, giving your
phone powerful depth of field and manual focus.
Telephoto, wide angle, macro or your fixed-50
lenses all attach to this mount, giving you a full
range of lenses at your iPhone-lovin' fingertips.
(Note: also available for iPhone 3GS for $190)
Piictu (free): Think of this app as a scavenger
hunt with cell phone pics. A simple way to talk and
play with your friends from your mobile phone using
pictures. You simply snap a pic and post it to
Piictu and your social networks, and watch it get
live picture responses from your friends and
community at large.
Flixlab (free): Create professional style movies in
seconds with Flixlab, a mobile application
available for iPhone, coming soon to Android and
Windows Phone 7. Also allow friends to keep the
creative fun going with the option to "remix" your