Looks pretty impressive. I have been using the Ajax based start pages for quite sometime and for the last few months, I have been hooked on to Netvibes. I actually tried Pageflakes first and then switched and this is what I wrote sometime back. At that time the pageflakes site didn’t look impressive at all and I felt that the background colour was really pathetic. That is the first thing that has to be nice about a website. If the background is disappointing then half the audience is lost. Anyway, after that I didn’t venture to find out what was happening in that site after that.
Yesterday, I was just curious to find out what was happening to the Pageflakes site and it said ‘Upgrade in Progress’. And today when I visited the site again, I was quite thrilled about it. First and foremost, the interface looks awesome. When you first visit the site it starts with asking you about creating an account and then asks for the colour and the default colour itself looks impressive. With my poor sense of colour I haven’t been able to identify the exact colour, but it looks blueish. That is a major lift for this site as blue offers a very pleasant feel to the page.
Pageflakes is seemingly moving in a different direction from Netvibes. Maybe they are trying to shift the area of competition from individual users to communities. Pageflakes offers the functionality of Page Sharing. What this means is that a single page on pageflakes can be kept private, can be shared among a few users or can be made public. This points to the direction of community building. What this means is that you can create a page and invite your family and friends to view it and the only thing required from them is to view the page. This sort of a feature can get those non-geeks to start using the system. So far, I am pretty sure that most of the audience for the start pages has been from nerd audience and this audience can be at best termed as the early majority. Or to say on the lines of the Long Tail, the Long Tail of the start page market is yet to be tapped.
With the page sharing functionality Pageflakes has got a Social Networking feel to it. Compared to Netvibes, which focusses on individual users, Pageflakes seems to be moving in the opposite direction. And since they are not going head to head for the same audience, this can help them maintain their early mover advantage. Also, this might be a sign that these start pages are beginning to think and act in a more mature way.
The other feature which pageflakes offers and I just love is the RSS reader feature. It is so convenient to browse all the feeds. It gives me the feel of using Attensa on Outlook and also minimizes movement across the widgets to browse different feeds.
1. It still doesn’t maintain the structure from an imported OPML. I reported about this problem long time back. This isn’t too big an issue, but would help if it is handled properly.
2. It would be nice to have a ‘My Feeds’ column. I was searching for my feeds once I imported them using the opml.
3. A picture as a background would be really nice.
This is the Alexa ranking of Pageflakes and Netvibes. Though there are a number of shortcomings in using this ranking, it provides this data for free. So, I thought lemme just use it.
The reach of Netvibes seems to be much higher compared to pageflakes and this is something that pageflakes has to try and address. I am not a big fan of Pageviews and with the advent of AJAX and widgets based stuff on the web, it has become even more irrelevant.