Actually announced last week, but still just as interesting: a new Facebook app has been released that enables users to tap their friends and other volunteers to help perform distributed renders.
Artists simply upload their projects via the RenderWeb app. Other Facebook users can then volunteer their computers to help render the job. Friends of the uploader are automatically prioritised for the work.
The system currently only works for Blender, but according to the developer’s FAQs, support for other 3D packages is in development.
For obvious security reasons, you wouldn’t want to use the system for a commercial job, but the process looks straightforward, and seems likely to appeal to people working on personal projects – particularly because the results can automatically be shared on Facebook afterwards.