RealTime IT News

Products to Watch at TechCrunch50

SAN FRANCISCO - As expected, new and interesting products were on display today in the Demo Pit at TechCrunch50, being held at the San Francisco Design Center Concourse through Wednesday.

They include a site that lets companies pay people around the world securely, an online selection-based search system that speeds up online search, and a Web-based application that lets Web developers build sites without having to concern themselves about back-end integration and delivered in software as a service (SaaS) mode.

Despite its troubles, Yahoo has a booth at the show, advertising Yahoo Search BOSS (Build Your Own Search Service), which was launched recently and lets users of any size build and launch Web-scale search products that use the entire Yahoo search index.

The company is building customized solutions for large firms, a Yahoo booth staffer, who declined to be named, told InternetNews.com.

Payoneer offers a fully hosted turnkey solution that lets enterprises tapping contract workers or freelancers worldwide pay them securely with co-branded cards bearing the company's name. Payees can access their funds in local currency and Payoneer claims the cost is "a fraction" of that of checks or wires.

Card holders can use their cards at any ATM worldwide or make purchases at any of the 26 million retailers who accept MasterCard around the globe, and can top up the cards online or at more than 59,000 Western Union locations in the United States. The system sets up a virtual account and routing number in the United States for Americans being paid this way.

Meanwhile, KallOut is demonstrating a system that it claims will make Web searches 10 times faster than normal browser searches. It uses selection-based search, letting users run searches in context.

The application incorporates algorithms in its BestGuess system, which matches searchers' selections with the most relevant content providers when they pick a search term. KallOut claims that more than 100 million terms have been pre-trained with BestGuess suggestions, which are constantly re-ranked based on search content and the notion of "the wisdom of crowds."

Another company in the Demo Pit, Webvanta, offers a wizard-oriented interface targeted at Web developers building database-backed sites. It is delivered in SaaS mode. Once users have built their sites, they can pull in links to related content and can write their own content.

Running Ruby on Rails with MySQL, Webvanta is "tuned for Web designers so they don't require heavy technical lifting like other sites do," company president and CEO Michael Slater told InternetNews.com. It offers pre-built tags, including a privacy policy. Users can pick additional features for their site, such as e-mail, blog enablement, and a photo gallery.

Users can customize the look and the feel of the site they are building, and security, backup and broken link detection are all automated. The application is free for designers until they or their clients take the sites public, at which point, the clients pay by credit card.

As site builders go, this is well beyond what's offered by existing drag-and-drop packages online such as SiteBuilder, because it handles the back end data integration and technical work for users. Webvanta has obtained Series A funding through angel investors.

Webvanta can be used by customers other than Web designers, but "we're pretty small right now, so we have to pick a market to focus on," Slater said.