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Now Available: 50 Disruptive Companies 2013 See The 2013 List »

The 50 Most Innovative Companies 2011

Web & Digital Media

Public Companies


Why: The exponential growth in traffic on the Web is possible because of services that route data intelligently.
Key innovation: Its algorithms optimize online routes for content delivery.

Why: E-books are finally becoming a large, mainstream market.
Key innovation: Even as it seeded the e-book market with the Kindle, Amazon has made it easy for people to read e-books on other devices, such as the iPad.


Why: It still sets the agenda in Web search, even as it pushes the development of Android for mobile devices.
Key innovation: Its software development process remains relatively fast even as the company has gotten very big.


Why: Inexpensive video on demand, delivered over the Internet, undercuts cable and points the way to a likely future for TV.
Key innovation: Built demand for a streaming video service by including it free with DVD-by-mail subscriptions.

Private Companies


Why: Web applications must get faster and feel much more responsive to users if cloud computing is to keep growing.
Key innovation: Its technology efficiently routes traffic across the Internet and makes websites faster.


Why: Corporate decision-making gets smarter if it taps the insights of rank-and-file employees.
Key innovation: Private prediction markets let employees forecast the results of corporate choices.


Why: Social networking on the Web is becoming a powerful advertising medium and a platform for startups that offer add-on services.
Key innovation: Adapts quickly to shape its site into a medium that advertisers consistently want to use.


Why: By encouraging millions of people to sign up for quirky daily advertising e-mails, Groupon has created one of the fastest-growing revenue generators on the Web.
Key innovation: Offers local businesses a way to guarantee a return on their promotional budget, thereby tapping into a huge advertising pool that has eluded many Web companies.


Why: Augmented reality enhances the value of a mobile device, employing its camera and GPS and displaying information about the user's surroundings.
Key innovation: Its development platform lets businesses and advertisers add AR functions to their own apps.


Why: Now that the company has begun to make money from its large user base, a service that has woven its way into everyday life is more likely to stick around.
Key innovation: Its business model offers selected opportunities for advertisers while drawing income from deals that let search engines index its content.


Why: Web tools can help people respond to crises such as earthquakes and political protests.
Key innovation: Its open-source crowdsourcing tool overlays field reports on maps, providing critical and often life-saving data during emergencies.


Why: Companies are building businesses inside platforms like Facebook.
Key innovation: Its social games offer people a new way to interact.