If users creating content were the big Web story last year, refining content is the next big thing. Digital cameras enable us all to shoot and share thousands of often crappy photos. To polish those images, try a beta site, Picnik.com, that lets you clean up your pictures without knowing a thing about photo editing. You can remove red-eye, brighten, crop or add special effects right in your browser window.
If you're more of a Web watcher than a content creator, you will soon have a lot more to look at. Instead of lumpy, amateur videos that halt and lurch every few seconds, new services are offering high-quality, full-screen video. With Democracy (soon to be renamed Miro), a free, open-source video player with more than 1,000 channels, you can watch or store video podcasts, independent films, public TV programs and documentaries, whether you're online or not. Joost is an early-stage video service that lets you watch long-form, professionally produced TV and film channels online, instead of the user-generated clips found at YouTube and other video sites. Netflix will have its movie-download service ready by June members will be able to download and watch films right away rather than wait for movies by mail.
For those overwhelmed with information and stuff to do, new services promise to help manage your mania. One of the Web's sleekest design firms, 37Signals, is about to debut Highrise, a simple tool for organizing and sharing contacts. Start-ups iScrybe.com and Stikkit.com are offering new approaches to keeping track of your schedule and to-do lists.
The giants also have some fresh ideas. Yahoo! is blending instant messaging with e-mail to make communicating quicker and is updating its look to make sorting e-mail simpler. Google, meanwhile, is expected to add a free PowerPoint-like program soon to its word-processing and spreadsheet software.
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