There’s plenty of new stuff happening all around us. Technology gets a lot of hype on a 24×7 basis, with new things happening here and there. In this constantly updated environment it is sometimes difficult to notice the real pearls.
I think that I just came across one – JotSpot Family Site. It’s currently in Beta (as is half of the Web anyway), but it still offers a handful of interesting features.
The point of the JotSpot Family Site is to make family communications and information sharing easier. It provides an integrated environment with tools like calendar, poll system, blogs, recipes database, photo albums, family tree, etc. With these tools you can easily update your family members on recent happenings, share pictures, get birthday reminders, schedule family reunions, and do a lot of other cool stuff. All of these are provided free of charge (but that can change later, of course).
I’ve registered and played around with it and found it to be very intuitive. It is flexible enough without being difficult. Surely, it is rough around the edges and there are still a few bugs, but the direction and overall functionality are moving in the right direction.
I wish there was a way to switch user interface language. Currently the site is all in English, but most of my family speaks only Russian – and that’s pretty much the showstopper. I’d also appreciate some importing tools. Pictures should be integrated with Flickr, which is the de facto standard for image sharing. Calendar should also be able to read data from a variety of sources or formats. Blogging is too quite popular at the moment – I’d be glad to have posts from my personal blog appear on my family site (via the magic of RSS).
There are still ways to go and things to do. But I really liked the overall idea and the direction. Hopefully it will get some momentum and work out for the better.