Families Get Web 2.0 with Famster

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cap-10029.png One of the things I've seen that's been missing in Web 2.0 is a tight focus on mainstream. Sure, you have your YouTube's and MySpace's, but other than that there aren't really any 'safe' and structured alternatives for, say, families. And this is where Famster comes in — a safe, fun and free alternative of Web 2.0, for families.

The first thing that will strike you when you join Famster is that it's inevitably Flash — and this is a really good thing seeing that one of the technologies that most of the world has heard of — and uses — is Flash. Another reason why this is good is because it's one of the reasons why Famster's interface turns out to be fairly usable and intuitive — something like this could have never been done with AJAX.

As for the features, Famster contains a lot of the obvious ones — and some that might cause a few jaws to drop, although not quite. With Famster, you (and your family) will be able to upload photos to your photo album, videos (and Famster will do all the hard-yard encoding and streaming for you), and any other type of file to your 'filing cabinet' (for backup, online storage, etc.), maintain a blog, write and organize scrapbooks, read and subscribe to RSS feeds, chat with other Famster users using its web-based IM client (and if you're below 14, your parents need to approve the people you talk to), amongst a lot of other things.

Another obvious advange of Famster is that it's safe, secure and built for families. You'll never come across anything even obsurdly non-family-friendly while using it and you'll never have to worry about your kids. Famster gives you, as the parent, quite a lot of power while keeping the kids in mind. It's a win-win situation and I think that's how it should be. On top of that, they give you a lot of tools (such as a 'registered sex-offenders search engine') to make sure your kids and teens are aware of the risks.

Overall, I think Famster's done quite a terrific job in its niche. Web 2.0 is really about a lot of stuff, and you can't just throw it at the mainstream and expect them to use it. It has to be done a certain way for it to work, and everything from the interface to the features they enable are spot on, and best of all, completely free. The only complain that I might have in fact is that it's a bit too perfect.

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