Monday, December 18, 2006

Internet portals 2.0? I'll stick with Google thanks

So I've discovered the existence of Netvibes. A place where you can access all your online content or somesuch. I have to wonder: what's the point? I already have technology to access all the online content that interests me: it's called a web browser.

It reminds me of the now long-dead "portal" craze going on when I first discovered the Internet in 1995. People like Yahoo and Netscape were vying to create a single Internet point of presence - a "portal to the Internet" if you will - which aggregated things like websearch, news headlines and weather forecasts on a single page. Now we have people like Yahoo and Newsvibe vying to create a single Internet point of presence which aggreates things like blogsearch, news headlines and RSS feeds on a single page, using Ajax. Portal 2.0.

I wonder if it'll be as uninspiring a flash-in-the-pan as the 1.0 version?

About the only useful thing I can see Portal 2.0 concepts doing is allowing online data to be presented in a manner more appealing to the user. But that isn't exactly what Newsvibe does. What it does is provide a limited framework for aggregating information in away that Newsvibe pre-determines. I have to say on first glance that I don't like it very much. It's easier and more convenient for me to visit's website directly rather than mess about with the limited control over content that Netvibe's module gives me. I haven't checked out the RSS feeds yet.

Not sure I will either given the existence of Google Reader. Google I think gets the "point of presence" idea a little better I think. Sure, there's Google homepage where you can aggregate some stuff, but they don't cram everything into a single framework. There's an individual application interface for Gmail, a different one for Google Reader, another one for Google News. I don't know exactly what Google's style of providing different ways to examine different types of online data is called, but it feels more comfortable and usable. Google Reader and Google News feel like they supplement my web-browsing style, unlike Newsvibe's "Portal" approach which feels like it's trying to replace it. Badly. Maybe that's what bugs me about Newsvibe: they don't recognise the differences between different kinds of content. I think Google does.

I guess I'm turning into a Google fanboy. But really, can you blame me?

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