Beta Watch

Note: Besides Invision and Birdpost, below, we looked at several other new sites and services that were unveiled at September's Demo Fall 2008 and TechCrunch50 conferences.

Flowgram: PowerPoint-Screencast Hybrid

Nobody likes PowerPoint presentations, but instead of just outlawing them, people keep trying to make the darn things better. The latest example is Flowgram, a free Web-based tool that uses the kind of timeline interface you would usually find in a movie editor to help you create timed online presentations of live Web pages, photos, documents, RSS feeds, and videos. In addition, the interactivity that a Flowgram allows is impressive. Not only can you narrate your presentation and highlight portions of the Web pages, but your viewers can click links on the pages you present and even view videos on sites like YouTube within the presentation. The Flowgram automatically pauses to let them see the whole video.

Invision.tv: Web TV Guide

Invision.tv's electronic program guide offers channel-by-channel options for Web video watching.
The Web has many great video viewing options, but no great way to find them. Invision.tv aims to solve that problem by providing you with an electronic program guide to the Web. Videos are ar­ranged by channels: CNN, Funny or Die, and the like. You can watch a video you select in a small window in the upper left corner of the Invision site, or you can choose to play it full screen or at the site where the video originates. If you tell Invision what you're interested in, it will suggest good viewing options. You also have access to social networking tools that let you vote or comment on a video, mark it as a favorite, or share it with a friend. (Check out ffwd.com for a different take on finding Net video.)

Birdpost: Flock Spotter

Birdpost
You've heard of citizen journalism, in which average joes report on news that's important to them. Well, Birdpost hopes to be one of the leaders of a citizen science movement. Avid birdwatchers from around the globe can join the free site and post their latest sighting of, say, a Black-capped Pygmy-Tyrant. Other birders or even novices can search for types of birds and in some cases can get a Google map that shows the species' range.

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