Getting Ready for SXSW: GroupMe, Beluga, CardMunch, and more !

This year it feels like getting ready for the big SXSW event later this week requires trying out a dozen+ new mobile apps. I’ve been giving a few of them a go, and happy to find a few winners.

In the group messaging category, GroupMe, seems really useful — as well as Beluga, Hurricane Party app, and FastSociety.

My one complaint with nearly all of these apps — all the configuration happens within the app — the web component is pretty weak or an after thought. And putting 30+ contacts into a group on the iPhone, for example, is rather tedious. I think all these apps could benefit from a simple web UI that you do on setup, and then go mobile 95% of the time after that.

On the I-missed-this-while-in-Europe front, I completely missed the news that CardMunch got acquired by Linkedin and is now free. The service is dead simple — you take a photo of a business card — and then humans transcribe it into a contact-friendly format, and optionally sync it to Linkedin.

Been testing it out tonight, and seems to work really well, and will be great for events where you are meeting people and end up stacking up cards after you get home and rarely entering them in. I see a few comments about privacy concerns, but with Linkedin now owning them, I’m less concerned about that — they’ve been very solid on privacy protection.

Any other must-have apps ?

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