Beta watch: EmailOracle, FriendShuffle, Storify

Track whether e-mail recipients open your messages. Plus: Easily view sites that your social network pals recommend

EmailOracle: Inbox Spy

Do you hate hearing someone give you that lame "I haven't read your e-mail" excuse when you know they read it but didn't bother to reply? EmailOracle is a Gmail plug-in that will tell you whether they are really blowing you off or it's time to up the antiparanoia meds. This service adds a couple of checkboxes to Gmail's interface when you're composing a message: You can choose to track whether the recipient opens your e-mail and to get a reminder if you haven't heard back within a number of days that you specify. A free account lets you track 20 messages a month. Paid accounts cost as much as $100 per month and allow you to track as many as 10,000 messages a month.

FriendShuffle: URL Explorer

For many people, the point of following someone on Twitter (and, in some cases, Facebook) isn't so much to see what they say in their status updates as to see what they're linking to. FriendShuffle is a mashup that makes it easy to view the Web pages that have your friends excited. Sign in to your Facebook or Twitter account through FriendShuffle, and click the Shuffle button--you'll go to a Web page that a friend mentioned in a status update or liked on Facebook. At the top, you'll see what your friend had to say about it. And if you're intrigued, too, you can click a button to post it to your Facebook and Twitter followers.

Storify: Blog Collector

Literature has the concept of "found poetry," poems cobbled together from other people's words. Storify is a free tool to create what you might call a "found blog." When you compose a blog entry at Storify, you see two panels on the page. The panel on the left allows you to search for content from Creative Commons, Facebook, Google, Twitter, or YouTube. Once you find a Facebook post or Twitter comment that you want to include, drag it into the composition panel on the right. The information appears much as it would in its original context, but you can add your own text before and after. People can see the final product on the Storify site, or you can embed your creation in your own blog.

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Edward N. Albro

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