Wednesday, May 14, 2008

High-Tech Pet Innovations and the People Who Love Them

AAAG Note: We found this interesting and thought other pet lovers who are internet junkies would enjoy this as well. If you're just cruising around, check some of these ideas out.

(ARA) – The Internet or their pets – which could Americans live without?

No need to live without either, thanks to some particularly enterprising participants in the pet industry – a market the American Pet Products Manufacturers’ Association estimates at $40 billion a year. Technology has literally gone to the dogs . . . and cats. While humans revel in their smart phones, hi-speed Internet access and high-definition everything, their pets can also reap the rewards of living in a techno-savvy society.

Here are three pet-related Internet innovations that just 10 years ago you probably wouldn’t have believed would exist.

1. An Online “Digg” for Pets – There are probably as many pet Web sites as there are pets in this country. Love pictures of cats wearing clothes? It’s out there. Craving the company of like-minded canine lovers? You can find it online. From sites for lovers of specific breeds to ones on health, behavior and emotional support, as well as blogs on every pet-related topic imaginable, it’s possible to spend hours online sniffing out the content you seek. How can you quickly find the “best in show” when it comes to pet-related online content?

Now there’s a unique site that fetches top pet-related news, video, photos and blog content and brings the best stuff together in one spot. Purina Pet Charts - petcharts.purina.com (type as is, don’t add www in the browser address) - acts as a “Digg,” gathering timely pet-related content from across thousands of Web sites, including professional and amateur sites and blogs, pet articles, photos, videos and Real Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds. Purina created the site in order to tap into the vast amount of published and user-generated pet content on the Web.

A custom search engine pulls pet content from sites like The New York Times, Yahoo! Pets, YouTube, flickr and nearly 50 pet blogs. Then a human curator reviews all the stories, photos and videos filtered by the search engine, and posts only the pick of the litter on the Pet Charts site. Pet lovers can filter content by dogs, cats or both and vote for their favorite pet-related content – be it a video of a cat on the top of a computer monitor or a story of a dog saving a man from a bear.

2. Social Networking – Social networking sites are all the rage these days for humans and now their canine and feline companions are getting into the act. Petcentric Place (www.petcentricplace.com) is unique because it is an online social network that encourages profiles for both pets and their owners. Participants can share information and photos about themselves and their dogs and cats, become friends with others, send out friend feeds and chat. This site educates, entertains and supports pets and their owners.

3. Talking E-cards – In keeping with being "green" many people are replacing paper birthday/holiday cards with more environmentally friendly e-cards. And now, their pets can do the talking for them. DOGGIE-mail and KITTIE-mail, featured at www.petcentric.com/doggieMail, allows pet lovers to upload a photo of their pet and send customized e-cards featuring their dog or cat speaking in the owner’s voice. Don't have a photo handy? No problem. Dog and cat owners also have the option to choose from six dogs or cats already provided, along with a variety of cute phrases, backgrounds and props.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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