Richi Jennings

I wanna be your homepage 2.0 (and smart stocking fillers)

December 15, 2005 7:46 AM EST
In today's IT Blogwatch, we look at the various Web 2.0 contenders vying to be your browser's homepage. Not to mention some smart stuff to consider as stocking fillers ...

Do smarter tools mean smarter homepages? Stephen Bryant thinks so: "seven desktop and homepage apps vying for your news feeds, bookmarks, and sticky notes ... The homepage is making a comeback. But this time, unlike in the mid-'90s, home pages aren't simply lists of links ... these 'Web 2.0' homepages prioritize personalized content and customizable interfaces and offer a variety of applications normally found on the desktop ... Microsoft's live.com is a great example of how a large company can learn from, and even one-up, its more agile competitors ... Google IG is a strong and relatively flexible AJAX desktop ... Of all the competitors in this space, Goowy goes furthest in replicating the desktop metaphor and experience. It's also the most fully-realized Web-based desktop platform, and for good reason ... Netvibes is an elegant and functional homepage that provides a lot of extensibility without crowding the page with options ... Protopage is an AJAX homepage on steroids ... The latest entrant ... is also the poorest ... Eskobo seems little more than a Windows Live knockoff, and most of its features don't work as advertised. ... Zoozio is still in pre-beta, and its home page only demonstrates a few standard features. Stay tuned for more." [Stephen, didn't you mommy tell you that if you can't say anything nice about someone, not to say anything at all?]

» Adam Green, Darwinian Web: "They remind me of the integrated product craze that flared up in the early to mid-Eighties. It was felt by many users and software designers that only being able to run one program at a time was a major limitation of PC-DOS, the dominant operating system of the time ... Software designers always underestimate the desire of users to run individual products for separate tasks. I'm afraid these web desktops will allow me to tie together a collection of mediocre apps, and I'm supposed to be impressed because I can move windows around on a page ... But to be fair, I'll give each of the seven sites listed in the article a try and report back. I am curious to see just how GUI a webapp can be."

» Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft Watch:  "One of them, Live.com, even comes from (gasp!) Microsoft. Microsoft tech evangelist Robert Scoble is particularly enamored of Goowy's desktop."

» Scoble, R. teases: "At first glance this looks like Konfabulator, but on second glance this rocks ... We're building something like this for Windows Live as well, but this is way ahead of where we are right now." [But it'll only work properly in IE, right Robert?]

» Jason Clarke, The Unofficial Microsoft Weblog: "As Michael Arrington is so fond of pointing out over at Techcrunch, the business model for personalized homepages is suspect at best, so the number of people that are working on personalized homepages is sort of perplexing. That being said, I do use Google’s personalized homepage, mostly because it gives me two simple things: a Google search form (which, now that I think about it I never use, since I simply use the one built into Firefox) and the ability to see RSS feeds from my local news radio station. Hmm. Maybe I’ll have to rethink my homepage."

Buffer overflow:
And finally...  Some smart stuff to consider as stocking fillers
Richi Jennings is an independent technology and marketing consultant, specializing in email, blogging, Linux, and computer security. A 20 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. Contact Richi at blogwatch@richi.co.uk. Also contributing to today's post: Judi Dey, our very own Antipodean.