Monday, July 24, 2006

Choices Expand for Customized Start Pages

Where does your browser go when the click the "home" icon on the toolbar? For many people, the answer is still their ISP's home page (at home) or whatever page their IT goup set it to (at work). However, there are an increasing number of services that let you customize your own start page. Among the first were My Yahoo and the aguably better though under-publicized Google offering, but both the choice and sophistication are increasing.

Among the new entries in this space are the very cool Netvibes and Pageflakes. These services let you customize your stat page with tools like news feeds, RSS feeds (such as your favorite blogs), local weather, your address/contact book, a dictionary, to-do lists, online file storage, mail and IM, photos, Web search, sports scores and more. Yahoo, Google and Netvibes all seem to be fairly browser-agnostic; Pageflakes appears to work best with IE.

Another service planned but not yet launched is the "life organizer" from Lifeio from ATTAP Technologies. You can sign up to be notified when the service is up and running.

Being naturally suspicious of anything that seems too cool to be free, I contacted the folks at Pageflakes to inquire about their business model. They responded quickly (something I always admire and appreciate) that their model is to build traffic first, then monetize it with advertising, and offer users a premium ad-free version for a modest fee.

All of these services are pretty slick; I'd recommend playing around with each to figure out which works best for you.


Terms: personalized home page, personalized start page, Pageflakes, Netvibes

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