Call them "Family 2.0" sites--places for people who may feel a little strange hanging out with the teenybopper set on MySpace. While big family-friendly sites have been around for a long time, few of them have taken advantage of newer Web technologies, even things as widespread as RSS feeds and mapping links.

"It's an underserved market," said Joe Kraus, founder of the Net software company JotSpot, which in May introduced Family Site, family networking software. "It's as if, in the world of cars, all the marketers have been talking about horsepower and engine size, but the whole market was really interested in safety and convenience. (On the Web), we're finally (saying) what people want to hear, like how I use this tool to keep my family in touch."

Since January, nearly a dozen family-networking portals have launched in test version, including Ourstory.com, Zamily.com, Amiglia.com, Families.com, Famoodle.com, Jotspot Family Site, Cingo.com, FamilyRoutes.com and Famundo.com. Even Martha Stewart plans to introduce a similar social network for women to swap recipes and advice.

So what's special about these sites, given that parents have long used online discussion forums or gotten parenting tips from iVillage.com? The answer is that many draw on advanced social-computing technologies like RSS, wikis and mapping to help families do the simplest of things: stay in touch, share photos and calendars, plot the family tree, plan vacations and even vote for next Christmas' main dish.

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