A month from now, SXSWi will be over, and I’ll be in the middle of a very remote jungle, sipping on fermented acai berries and getting my nits picked by monkeys.

Until then, I’ll be keeping one eye on our crotchety goose and the other on Interactive-related news, and reporting the choicest bits to you, dear readers.

Today, said bits are composed entirely of cool apps that are competing in the Accelerator. SXSW announced all of the finalists last week, but in case you a) missed that and b) want to know more about fewer, read on!


  • Made by: Ryan Singel, formerly of Wired’s Threat Level blog
  • State: Closed beta, but Drupal users and self-hosted and VIP Wordpress users can get the plugin and apply. 
  • What it does: keeps readers on your site longer by suggesting interesting related content.
  • Why it’s cool: While Contextly’s current outputs—a Read More box of related links and a Living Sidebar of the same—are not novel, the algorithm that powers them is: it’s geared towards deep dives, not slight variations on a theme.

2. Shoutabout

  • Made by: Albert C. Lai, Mat Morgan, and Micah Ting
  • State: Public
  • What it does: Have you ever read a news story that got you all hopped up and eager to do something (or just explore further)? Shoutabout makes this easy by showing you actions to take next below each story. Eg: beneath a Christian Science Monitor piece on why many of the GOP responded favorably to Obama’s treatment of Immigration Reform in the SOTU, there are links to join the Federation for American Immigration Reform and read Obama’s immigration proposal.
  • Why it’s cool: It removes some of the friction between passive and active responses. That and its part-algorithmic/part-user-contributed content model.

3. Infoactive

  • Made by: Adam Perkins and Trina Chiasson
  • State: Closed beta.
  • What it does: Lets users create interactive, dynamic, responsive visualizations of their data streams, sans programming skills.
  • Why it’s cool: It’s much easier to spot trends and tell stories using visualizations than spreadsheets, but currently, there aren’t many options for doing so that aren’t data type-specific or code-intensive. Infoactive is one, and it’s damn pretty.

4. Meograph:

  • Made by: Mischa Leybovich
  • State: Launched.
  • What it does: Champions multi-faceted digital storytelling with an online platform that weaves audio, pictures, maps, and links into a timeline video.
  • Why it’s cool: More media forms = more interesting, and the timeline feature helps structure stories. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to use.  

5. OneTok:

  • Made by: Ben Lilienthal and Jerry Norton
  • State: Launched.
  • What it does: Gives developers an easy way to add voice capabilities to their applications.
  • Why it’s cool: Speaking commands is much easier—and safer--than typing them.