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Startups Get The Spotlight At Web 2.0 Summit

Those born in the next-generation Internet are taking advantage of the growing use of broadband and better technology for building browser-based applications.

Startups are behind many of the innovative services offered in the emerging Web 2.0. While many Internet companies evaporated during the dot-com crash in 2000, new ones have been born in the next-generation Internet, taking advantage of the growing use of broadband and better technology for building browser-based applications.

During the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco Wednesday, many startups were mentioned as favorites of panelists at the conference's workshops. Here's a sampling of the sites that got the nod from their peers:

37Signals

37Signals targets individuals and small businesses with Web-based software with the least number of features necessary. "Our products do less than the competition -- intentionally," the company says on its Web site.

Products include Basecamp, a project management and collaboration app for sharing schedules, files, messages, tasks, and more with team members or clients. Other services include Highrise for tracking leads, clients, and vendors; Backpack for calendaring and organizing ideas, to-dos, notes, photos and files; and Campfire for group chat.

EchoSign

EchoSign is a signature service that claims to be used by more than 125,000 businesses and individuals. The service enables users to sign documents over the Web, or through fax. The service also can store and manage signed agreements. Among the company's partners is Salesforce.com.

ThinkFree

ThinkFree, which is in beta, bills itself as a "free online alternative to Microsoft Office." The site offers 1 Gbyte of free storage, document collaboration and a document viewer that enables users to edit Microsoft Office documents, spreadsheets, and presentations online. The company, which targets small businesses, also offers offline software that's being optimized for Intel-based mobile Internet devices, which are essentially handheld computers.

Workspace

Workspace has launched its "sandbox release," which is the testing version of the site's online development environment. Features includes a syntax highlighting editor for editing text, PHP, JavaScript, HTML, Java, Perl, SQL, and other types of files directly on a remote server. The online utility also provides tools for finding and managing files on a number of FTP sites simultaneously. Each user also gets some storage on Workspace servers.

Virgin Charter

Virgin Charter plans to make generally available in February 2008 an online marketplace for booking travel on private planes. The site offers tools for small aviation companies and potential customers to negotiate deals for private jet travel. People or businesses looking for a private jet initiate the process by posting trip itineraries to solicit bids. The site plans to offer ratings on buyers and sellers to help both sides in the negotiation process.

Zoho

Zoho offers online productivity applications that include a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation tool, and organizer. The company's services, however, go beyond what most people would associate with Microsoft Office. Other Web tools include conferencing software, an organizer, a project management application, a full-feature wiki, collaboration groupware, and chat. In general, Zoho is a lot about Web-based collaboration and communication.

The summit, which runs through Oct. 19, is expected to be chock-full of discussion and debate about the most important issues and strategies driving the Internet economy and what we might expect in the coming year.

Headlining the bill will be Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corp.; as well as Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer; eBay chief executive Meg Whitman; Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T; and Philippe Dauman, CEO of Viacom.

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