Webwag is a single-page aggregator that's been around for nearly a year now. Like other similar services, it lets users create one or more customized start pages, filled with modules of content that update continuously throughout the day. These feeds can be searched and browsed through a fairly large directory, along with the capability to drop in any old RSS feed. What's a little cooler, however, is Webwag's Widget-on-Demand tool, which will let you grab a live snippet of any Web page, and turn it into its own widget. If you're familiar with the Webclips service … Read more
Pageflakes has just updated their service this morning with a handful of new features. The company is calling this latest release "Blizzard." Users now get their own profile page and can link up with other Pageflakes users as friends. They can also browse through users by interest, based on items they've put together on their customized Pagecasts. The goal is to make the service feel like less of a solitary experience and make it easier to share user-created Pagecasts.
Also new is the option to completely customize a page. There are themes and simple color arrangements for users to pick from, and a tool to create your own. In the same vein, there are now media pages from third-party content providers and sponsors, nearly identical to what competitor Netvibes rolled out with their Universes feature in mid-April. Pageflakes is launching this feature with themed content pages from CNN, AOL, Rolling Stone, and the Washington Post, among others.
To help users find content to add to their pages, Pageflakes has also redone their widget gallery, which they call "flakes." There are about a quarter of a million widgets, which is about twice that of Netvibes.
The Blizzard release also opens up the door to users of Apple's Safari browser, who up until now have been unable to access the site. However, there's no news on whether an iPhone-friendly version of the start page service is in the works. To see more shots of the new features, click the read more link below.
This morning AOL launched myAOL, a group of three services wrapped up into one customizable page. MyAOL is made up of three services: myPage, a customizable start page akin to Pageflakes or Netvibes; Mgnet--an audiovisual mashup of news; and Favorites--which for all intents and purposes is a Web-based RSS reader. All three offer various ways of browsing, reading, and discovering news and Web content.
Since most users are already familiar with the concepts of myPage and Favorites, the real surprise here is Mgnet. This is one of the cooler things I've seen lately, and somewhat similar to Google's recently released Google News image browser. Users can pick out topics they like or are interested in, and Mgnet will pull up a small array of images linked up with story headlines. Clicking one brings up the story description in a separate pane, and users are able to vote it up or down (a la Reddit) as well as see related news stories (which are powered by Sphere).
In addition to providing stories it thinks you'll be interested in, Mgnet also keeps track of "what's hot," a small list of the most-clicked and voted-on stories. I found this more interesting than the actual AOL front page, since it's a little more visually stimulating. The one missing piece in this system is a way to see how user voting is affecting each story, something AOL will likely add later down the line.
Favorites is also impressive. As an RSS reader it's well-equipped. There's a fairly extensive listing of prepicked feeds from a variety of Web sites. There's also the option to add your own feeds, either with a straight RSS address, or by searching by URL. To keep track of your various feeds, you can set up folders, a little bit like Google Reader. You can also go in and reorder feeds with simple dragging and dropping. The one missing piece is a trashcan to delete feeds you don't want anymore, which instead is handled in a separate feeds manager.
AOL's got a pretty solid lineup of Web apps in one spot with myAOL. What it lacks in true originality, it makes up for in execution, as all three services are simple to use and feature-rich.
See more screens below.… Read more
SportSnipe is a new single-page aggregator the likes of Original Signal, PopUrls, and others, although it's focused specifically on sports feeds from all over the world. Users can browse through headlines and video thumbnails for various leagues, genres, and teams. Like Original Signal, SportSnipe has the option to hover over any headline to read the first few lines of the story, along with a comment button that lets registered users add their own commentary to the story--separate of the parent site.
The service claims to pull its headlines from over 1,300 different sports feeds. It also doubles as a regular old build-it-yourself feed aggregator similar to Netvibes and PageFlakes, albeit a little less flashy. Users can add RSS feeds as either text or video feeds. The video feed catcher is especially cool and gives you a little thumbnail for each clip. If you do this with a text feed, you won't get anything but a black box.
SportSnipe has a few ways to sort and share content. You can bookmark pages you'd like to share with others through a variety of social bookmarking sites. You can also turn off comments and hover over previews. With a quick toggle you can rearrange the feed boxes and extend the feeds to see more than just a few headlines. There are also embed codes for putting your feeds on a blog, Web site, or social networking profile (which I've done to the right.)
In many ways, SportSnipe isn't very original as a single-page aggregator. Pageflakes and Netvibes do a much better job with their presentation, and the resemblance to Popurls and Original Signal is unquestionable. However, SportSnipe has a really great directory of sports feeds that aggregate quickly and are far more comprehensive than what Original Signal offers. The video feed implementation is a nice touch as well.
More screens after the jump. … Read more
In reality, Google co-founder Larry Page just wanted to finish his doctorate, said Luis Mejia, a senior associate in the Office of Technology Licensing at Stanford University.
Mejia, who was working behind the desk one day in the mid-1990s when Page came in, said Page wanted Mejia's office to license the PageRank invention and get some royalties while he went back to his academic work.
Unfortunately, licensing proved difficult. Only one search engine company made an offer, and it was more of a token offer. "They (Page and fellow Google co-founder Sergey Brin) got frustrated so they decided … Read more
I'm trying to figure out what the hubbub is about the My Yahoo competitor Pageflakes tonight. Both TechCrunch and Mashable have just fallen over each other to cover what appears to be somewhat minor news about Pageflakes. These stories (and, obviously, this one too) are based on an embargoed press release that Pageflakes CEO Dan Cohen sent out last night, in which he boasts that, "over 100,000 Pagecasters...are enriching the lives of millions of Internet users around the world."
In English, this means that Pageflakes' community features are a success. And although the hype around … Read more
Got late word from Yahoo today about the company's new update of My Yahoo, due to roll out at 9:00 PM PDT tonight. As it turns out, I already have access to the features. So this report is based on hands-on access to the new service. We also covered an earlier version of the new My Yahoo back in March.
There are a few new modules available to My Yahoo users, like improved calendar and bookmarks widgets. The biggest update, though, is a new method to update your personal page, called "inline personalization." Now you don'… Read more
Google is renaming its personal home page iGoogle tonight. Google is also adding a new tool called Gadget Maker that helps people create their own widgets for use on their iGoogle page. The Gadget Maker comes with seven templates, including two media gadgets to pull in content from YouTube and online and offline photo collections. Users will also be able to organize their personal space with a countdown timer and a simple 10 item to-do list. There's also a free-form widget that lets a user mix together various media such as text and pictures.
This is a step in … Read more
I got worried when I read early on Friday in this IDG News Service article about a glitch with some peoples' Google Personalized Home Pages.
Sure enough, when I went to the site, all my hard work creating a customized portal of news, blogs, quotes of the day, weather for San Francisco, alarm clock and Stephen Colbert video clips was gone and replaced by the old sparse, white page I used to have before Google began offering colorful themes for the top of the page last month.
I e-mailed Google to see what happened and was informed that a "… Read more
Newsvine, an increasingly popular news aggregation and community content publishing site, re-launched yesterday, re-branding its front page as a single page aggregator. Users can now add and re-order content modules such as weather, sports tickers, and photo slide shows. They can also add RSS feeds from external Web sites (like ours). According to the team's blog post, the addition of modules was the most commonly requested feature by users.