The latest version of customizable start page Netvibes, nicknamed "Ginger" will be open to everyone as of Tuesday morning. We gave it a thorough look back in late January, and Rafe and I have been using it on a daily basis to keep up with various feeds and use it as a Widget engine.
If you're a current Netvibes user using the "Coriander" release, the tool has gone noticeably more social, adding options to follow your friend's reading activity and recommend news items without having to use other bookmarking or sharing services. It'll also pull in your friends from other networks like Facebook and Twitter.
One of the features that wasn't ready for prime time throughout the private beta (and still isn't) is a Web storage drive. It's been sitting up in the tool bar for the last month or so as unavailable--which is one of the first things I notice while using any service.
Unfortunately, Netvibes isn't making any announcements until a partnership with a Web storage company is finalized, but my educated guess is that it's going to be Box.net, which has a fairly broad scope of partnerships with popular Web services including Picnik, Scribd, and Zoho. The storage provider is currently featured as an "essential" widget in Ginger's widget directory.
Like Rafe wrote when he first checked out Ginger, some of these social updates are "unnecessary," in that it's primarily been a single serving tool for people to organize information for themselves. I'm interested to see how Web storage is worked in, so stay tuned on that. In the meantime, check out our chat with competitor Pageflakes' CEO Dan Cohen on last week's episode of Working Webware, who talks about the metagator space, as well as what it takes to stick out in this crowded market.