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Stay aHead: Office Hours, Brewster and Storybox

by Eric Kramer on 17 July 2012

Tuesday, you say? It’s time for our round-up of the hottest social gadgets, platforms and apps.

Office Hours

Yesterday afternoon, San Francisco: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took the stage to give the media a taste of what to expect from Office 2013, the newest tablet-ready productivity suite designed for Windows 8. Continuing an impressive month, which was kick-started by the unveiling of the Surface, Microsoft have been careful to keep this dose of much-needed momentum alive.

So what’s newsworthy? Next gen Office brings both a “cloud-first” mentality powered by SkyDrive and a shift to a subscription-based model. Other notable mentions include Facebook and LinkedIn integrations, as well as touch capabilities that will certainly take some fine-tuning. Expect to see a strong enterprise play when Yammer eventually steps into the Office, joining a newly integrated Skype. You’ll need to be running Windows 7 to install it, but feel free to try out the Office 2013 Customer Preview and see this cash cow in action.

Address Book Utility

After years of transferring your phone contacts from one device to the next, it’s safe to say that they mostly look like a big old mess. When you factor in the constantly changing social footprints and email addresses of everyone you meet, making sense of all of these fragmented connections and keeping them in context can be a serious challenge.

And so, named for the street that founder Steve Greenword grew up on as a child, Brewster has released a new app for your iPhone which seeks to streamline your contacts across multiple platforms. A simple profile is created for everyone you know, aggregating all of their relevant information into one place. With quick access to those who you talk with most frequently and a highly visual UI, the app also enables you to search through your relationships by city, interest, etc. Expect to see a series of iterations and new integrations as their current team of 15 attempts to challenge the stranglehold of default address books the world over.

Storybox

Pinterest users seeking more creative freedom now have another way to express themselves with images. Storybox is a new social platform that harnesses the power of serendipitous discovery with a clever collage tool.

Users can capture images from across the web with a simple bookmarklet and transform them into customized (Story)boxes with a seamless drag-and-drop interface. All boxes are embeddable and able to be shared or “remixed” by others. Still quite early on in beta, there is plenty of potential for brands to pioneer clever uses of this impressive platform.

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