Monday Roundup: authorSTREAM, Livemocha and Le Camping

As the boss is in Paris today to learn first hand how to get super rich and / or famous on YouTube, I guess it is up to me to share some interesting bits that landed in our inbox last week.

Today’s MRU is about the new authorStream which wants to take on Slideshare, the polished Livemocha navigation and some interesting edu startups that came out of LeCamping in Paris.

authorSTREAM

In case you are not familiar with the service yet, authorSTREAM is a product of authorGEN which is also the company behind WiZiQ. Therefore one can say that the main focus of authorSTREAM are educators in the widest sense. To get some more insights on the philosophy behind authorGEN and the different products I suggest you watch the EDUKWEST interview with Harman Singh. Although it was one of the first back in August 2009 it still provides some good information on why the team at authorGEN is developing technology the way it does.

There is a clear focus on Microsoft Office products and authorGEN is of course a Gold Certified Partner. With this comes a level of compatibility competitors like SlideShare lack. Whereas slides uploaded to other sharing sides often loose their effects etc authorSTREAM will display them on the web like on your computer, something authorSTREAM is rightfully proud of for a couple of years already.

authorSTREAM now launched new subscription plans and is taking on the best known competitor in the slide sharing space: SlideShare. While the video promotion embedded below is a bit “passive aggressive” for my taste (how often can you say “other slide sharing sites”) the comparison chart on the authorSTREAM website takes on SlideShare directly.

Besides the most obvious difference, e.g. authorSTREAM being considerably cheaper than SlideShare, there are some other features that are interesting for people in the education space.

  • authorSTREAM lets you switch your uploads to private, even in the free basic version.
  • authorSTREAM lets you choose up to 5 websites or blogs and enable them to embed the presentation, even when it is set on private.
  • authorSTREAM offers extended analytics like average time spend on slide and how many slides watched.
  • authorSTREAM offers multiple channels to sort your presentation if you cover different topics.
  • authorSTREAM offers a PowerPoint to video converter.

You might remember that SlideShare recently launched Zipcast, a lean version of a webmeeting which enables SlideShare users to turn every public presentation into a video conference. authorSTREAM is of course offering something similar with the difference that it’s even more basic as you have to use your own VoIP client for voice and video.

Taking into consideration that authorSTREAM is so closely connected to WiZiQ I would have expected something more elaborate. It seems as if this feature was quickly added to tick the point on the list. Let’s hope they come up with something more powerful based on the virtual classroom technology of WiZiQ. I actually think that this could be a nice opportunity for authorGEN to get more exposure for its virtual classroom technology in general as I would say that it is the harder sell compared to hosting slides. So why not use authorSTREAM as entry point for educators to get themselves familiarized with the WiZiQ classroom.

Anyhow, for a detailed overview on the differences between authorSTREAM and SlideShare I suggest you take a look on “Which one is the best presentation sharing platform?“.

Livemocha

Livemocha launched a new user interface and while it might not sound that big of a news, user interface design and user experience are two crucial things that any web based service needs to focus on.

As Kirsten recently wrote in her blog post “What would the ideal Application for Learners and Teachers look like?“, services tend to get overloaded over time as in the process of figuring out which features stick and which don’t more and more links and menus are added to the site which often leads to an overwhelming construct of options no one who did not grew up with it can figure out.

Livemocha is constantly adding new features on a monthly basis. Therefore a defragmentation of the menu can add a whole new experience for the user, especially for new ones. From a first look the menu resembles a bit what we know from Facebook which is again a clever step as chances are high that people already know how to use the social network and therefore feel more familiar with Livemocha.

Le Camping

Le Camping is a startup incubator / accelerator right in the heart of Paris, in the former stock exchange to be precise. Amongst the startups that will officially launch this Thursday, if I am not mistaken, are three that are especially interesting for this blog.

Beansight

You may remember Beansight as one of the startups that pitched at the first This Week in Startups Paris Meetup hosted by Kirsten. The premise of Beansight is essentially enabling people to say “I told you so!” and to prove it. Beansight is a community where everyone can predict anything based on a hunch, or even better, based on his / her knowledge. This is a very simple but intriguing concept as it cover the hot online reputation space.

PrepMyFuture

This startup is in the test prep space, GMAT and CFA to be precise. PrepMyFuture‘s technology adapts to the learner’s progress and is then creating a customized learning curriculum. Test prep is still a very hot market, especially in the US and I am pretty sure that the algorithm could also be adapted to standardized tests in other countries.

StudyKa

This is actually a very interesting concept. On StudyKa companies can source talent from schools to solve problems. Those students are then paid with incentives or cash. According to the article of Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry on the Business Insider who covered all of the startups the startup already made 100.000 Euro in revenue in three months and have returning clients. This could become big.