Archive for the 'Portals' Category

Netvibes Ginger preview

The almighty FSM has finally answered my prayers and sent an invite for Netvibes‘ new iteration, “Ginger”, my way. You could of course argue that it was a member of Netvibes who sent this invitation my way, and that it was less my praying to the FSM and more my incessant begging all over the goddamn web. But that’s a technicality I’m not going to indulge in any further here. Lets move on to what Netvibes has created with Ginger:

First and foremost, you can now add a public page for yourself, humbly called “universe”.It’s a nice way of showcasing all your feeds and what else you’ve got going with that myriad of other services you’re probably using. Plenty of widgets like the Twitter or Skype ones will facilitate that. Well, here’s mine. When you’re having a look at it, don’t forget to note my widget, for it displays the groovy taste in music I undoubtedly have.

Another new feature, but not yet active, is a 2GB online space, letting you store mp3s, documents and whatnot. Like I said, not yet active, but showcased on the Netvibes blog here.

And since it’s web2.0 and nobody wants to do stuff alone anymore, Netvibes also enriched their service by adding contacts. Find out who’s on Netvibes and add them as contacts by importing from your address book or other services like Twitter and Flickr (I can’t wait for Open Social to make all that redundant). Save items from feeds and show them to your friends. Like so:

Netvibes sharing

Whatever your friends or contacts are sharing you can view by clicking the “Activities” tab on the top bar of Ginger:

Netvibes Friends activities

As I’m hugely unpopular and haven’t yet had time to trick and bully people into becoming my Netvibes “friends”, there’s nothing in that list yet. But I’m sure it will look quite awesome once there’s stuff in there.

That’s it for now.There’s a slew of other little changes, which you’ll be able to notice yourself either mid-February when Ginger will launch for everyone or sometime before that if you were able to shamelessly beg yourself into Ginger the way I did.

Netvibes adds personality

It’s not for nothing that I’m always as happy as a pup when I see that Google Reader is ready to serve me a new item from the Netvibes Blog. Because Most of the time, it’s an announcement about their service that just shows they really do work overtime to make it as perfect for people as possible.

Well, today was no different. In their latest blog posting, they announced even more ways of personalization options for their wildly popular starting page. Here’s what’s new:

Themes – While they already have a bunch of themes, it’s always nice to add even more options. Their new themes are quite colourful and add new looks to tabs. All have rounded corners of course ;). In addition to that, you can create your own custom theme, utilizing their other new feature:

Wallpapers – While they call this new feature wallpapers, it’s really more than that. You can add images to the top and bottom part of the portal, but you can always just change the colours of these areas, including text colours. As for the images, Netvibes provides a few stock images, but you can also add images from Flickr, MySpace, Twitter or even direct URLs.

As always, these changes are implemented quite elegantly and intuitively, demonstrating once again that while Netvibes may not have the cash of the big contenders (iGoogle or MyYahoo!), they sure do lead the pack when it comes to innovation and implementation. So basically, they do everything the others do, only better.

30Boxes goes portal

30Boxes, one of the best online calendars out there, yesterday launched Webtop, an app similar to personalised starting page Netvibes and Google’s own personal starting page:

30boxes webtop

The page can be accessed only when you’re already a 30Boxes member, and consists of some information about your appointments (taken from 30Boxes), links to GMail, Flickr, a to-do list and a Google Search module.

While I’m a huge fan of the 30Boxes calendar, I see no sense behind introducing yet another personalised starting page, especially if it holds such a spectacular lack of innovation. Netvibes, in my eyes the best personalised starting page out there, already has a module that lets you pull your 30Boxes feed. In addition to that, Netvibes provides a stunning amount of modules, and recently launched their eco-system, a place to exchange modules and feeds.

As much as I like 30Boxes, I think they should keep their focus on improving the calendar, instead of trying to be everything at once. That’ll only turn them into nothing at all.

Techcrunch’s Mike Arrington (who’s celebrating his blog’s 1st birthday today) writes about it here, Mashable’s Pete Cashmore here.

Richard MacManus chimes in with general observations on the state of the personalised starting pages.

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