For breaking through in more than just search. YouTube dominates online video, and its lineup of premium original channels represents the most dramatic advance for the medium since YouTube’s debut. Its Chrome browser has surpassed Firefox and arguably delivers the best browsing experience. And display advertising is a legitimate second gusher of revenue. Read More
For fueling China’s Internet boom–and boldly moving West. Chinese Internet giant with Facebook-like numbers–more than 700 million users, $3 billion in revenue, and $1 billion in profits–is pushing QQ mobile onto western platforms such as the Apple App store and European application store GetJar. It’s leading the pack in imperializing the U.S. social gaming market, as evidenced by a recent partnership with Zynga and a purchase of California-based Riot Games that represents one of the largest acquisitions of an American company by a Chinese company. Read More
For using the web to enable real-world sharing of apartments and spare rooms. The virtual hotel chain saw 500% growth in the last year, surpassing 5 million nights booked through Airbnb. Its influence is felt widely through all of the other real things people now share via the Internet (cars, parking spaces, and so forth) as well as in the uptick in design-oriented online experiences and designers playing key roles in tech startups. Read More
For simplifying web-based storage with its easy-to-use cloud file-sharing and storage system. The platform-agnostic cloud-sharing service boasts 45 million users saving more than 2 billion files each week. In October, it launched a business-specific service called Dropbox for Teams, formally introducing the file-sharing service to the corporate workplace. The company founded by Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi is now valued at more than $4 billion. Its estimated revenue for 2011 is $240 million, though the vast majority of users pay nothing at all with its freemium model. Read More
For flying high with a slew of web services for air travelers. Of the ten North American airlines that provide Wi-Fi, Gogo works with nine of them. The company has taken its commanding lead of the market–it has 85% share of what’s still a nascent market–and expanded upon mere internet access to build a platform for entertainment, gaming, shopping, and local services that broadens Gogo’s appeal and utility and lets airlines empower economy passengers carrying a laptop, tablet, or smartphone to have a first- or business-class experience. Read More
For seamlessly routing Internet data from providers’ servers to users’ computers, tablets, and mobile platforms. The web content network delivers 30% of all web traffic, and its complex algorithms are helping big-name clients such as Apple, Facebook, and Netflix deliver content faster and more efficiently. In 2011, Akamai’s peak total traffic increased more than 70% over the previous year, to 8.7 terabits per second. It also focused on optimizing content for live-streaming on mobile devices. And Akamai handles the traffic with grace: Last year’s Royal Wedding broke livestreaming records, and Akamai delivered more live content for that event than any other provider.
For creating a proximity-based marketplace services lets sellers outsource tasks and errands. Individuals and businesses name their price to fulfill those needs. Zaarly recently raised $14 million, and in October HP’s Meg Whitman joined the company’s board. Ashton Kutcher, an investor, anonymously hired someone to fetch him coffee. Less than a year after launching in May at LA Startup weekend, the average Zaarly assignment costs around $52 a pop and almost 100% of people who post are repeat users.
For protecting and securing better than anyone has done before. CloudFlare is essentially a security product, protecting companies from web threats that hamper load times. Its Automatic IPv6 Gateway, free to customers, solves a critical problem at a time when IPv4 addresses are running out: site owners won’t have to alter a single line of code to adapt. Just over a year after the service launch, CloudFlare was powering more than 100,000 websites, and at least 5% of those saw more than 1.5 million monthly page views.
For turning the universe of internet images into gorgeous dream boards. Pinterest represents a creative form of using images as a means of digital communication as well as giving users a distinctive way of presenting their personality and creativity. The site recently surpassed 10 million monthly unique visitors faster than any other, and it’s easy to see why. Users curate beautiful objects of desire from anywhere across the web into themed sets, transforming its pages into a visual feast. Businesses have started to see the value in showcasing their own goods–or their own good taste–driving even more traffic.
For creating one of the world’s largest, most functional, and fastest-growing dating network. Growth exploded in 2011: Badoo now boasts 133 million users and is available in 35 languages. It launched in the U.S. in 2011 with fun features like Ice Breaker and Interests, which made it easier for strangers to start conversations around shared interests rather than merely attractive profile photos.