October 23, 2006

How the Internet is changing Money Lending

We all know that the Internet has changed the way that we get our news, the way that we buy things, and the way that we find information. But the Internet is starting to change the way that we invest and the way that we borrow money, as well.

Websites like geico.com and eloan.com brought capitalism to the industries of auto insurance and home loans in a new way.

Recently, I have stumbled on a few gems that are changing the way that we view and lend money. Read my summaries below, or take a guided tour of new money lending sites.

Kiva.org - I have always been fascinated by microfinance, and I have wanted to get involved, but Kiva finally encouraged me to make it happen. They allow you to lend as little as $25 to poor business owners to help them to grow their businesses. It is a great idea, and will hopefully bring more international focus to microlending.

BillMonk - Some friends make charitable lending inevitable - you know the people I'm talking about, that friend who is "sure they paid you back for that already." BillMonk is a great way to avoid awkward collections by keeping track of friendly debts in one place.

Prosper - Prosper.com is an eBay type marketplace for loans. Private lenders lend money to private borrowers. By cutting out the bank as a middleman lenders can make greater interest on their money, while borrowers lower their rates.

October 11, 2006

Official Google Docs & Spreadsheets Blog

Official Google Docs & Spreadsheets Blog

Google has just merged Writely with their spreadsheet program. After one day of testing things out, and kicking the tires, so to speak, here are my impressions:

There are exciting things afoot. For the first time, Google feels like a competitor to Microsoft Office. Little has changed, except for the look of Writely, and yet something feels different. The ability to share and edit in real time defines Web 2.0, and Google is writing the rules.

There are bugs, there are things that are difficult and non-intuitive (no easy button for double-spacing, no way to change print margins, no real print preview), but somehow it's still OK. It feels like life on the cutting edge.

Thank you, Google. Keep up the good work.