By Team Digit Published Date
01 - Oct - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - Oct - 2006
Many of us surf the Web regularly for mail, news, market updates, weather reports, and all the rest. We've gotten used to opening several windows or tabs. Life would be just that much simpler if we could get all our "daily content" at one place.

We've spotted quite a few start-ups providing AJAX-based personalised start pages-notably Microsoft's, Google's Personalised homepage, Pageflakes, Protopage, and others. Personalised homepages are a relatively new concept, where one can aggregate all one's content at a single, customisable page.

Netvibes is one such place, and a good one too, where you can organise a startup page the way you want. AJAX makes for a rich user interface, and lets the page, with all its modules, load pretty fast.

HTML content, Widgets, and RSS/Atom feeds come together at sites such as Protopage, Pageflakes, and From this heap, we decided Netvibes was the best.

When you first go to the site, you'll see News modules-Netvibes and Now Public; Blogs-TechCrunch and BoingBoing; an unconfigured Gmail module; search with Google, Yahoo, IceRocket, and Wikipedia; Web note-a briefing on possible modifications; a price comparison section, and a Flickr photo slideshow module.

JavaScript-based Widgets can be dragged and placed so you can have a personalised portal. Also, these Widgets can be edited as required later-place the mouse pointer on top of any module, you'll see "Edit" in the top right corner. For example, someone into stock trading would place, on his personalised page, Widgets that bring in the latest business content and updates. A sports buff can select sites such as ESPN or CBS SportsLine and get news feeds on sporting events worldwide.

At Netvibes, then, you have easy integration of e-mail, a calendar, your bookmarks, news, blogs, pictures, and more. Adding up small modules, you get a page from where you don't need to move away!

Your Netvibes page can be renamed so you can have the feel of a personalised portal. The site currently features IE 6, Firefox 1 , Opera 8 , and Safari 2 browser support.

A menu at the top-left corner shows you a list of available modules-self-contained units to perform specific tasks.

Search Engines
You can conduct several searches right on the main page.

RSS/Atom Feeds
The feed-reading module brings in RSS/Atom feeds from the blogs you've subscribed to. Just choose to add content and select the Feed Directory to view your list: if a site doesn't feature, just add the URL. Feeds can be filtered; there's the option of marking "read all" and "unread all."
Podcasts can be imported, downloaded and listened to without synchronising them with a player such as Winamp.

The Gmail module is available for checking mails. Yahoo POP3 mail account holders can configure their mail modules. For IM users, the site supports the Meebo service.

Tabbed information
One can add as many tabs as desired-a different tab for feeds on Entertainment, Sports, Health, and what have you. For example, you can configure a separate tab for all sports content. The page thus begins to look like a browser window all by itself!
Other utilities have also been added-such as Flickr for viewing photo slideshows, Web Notes for, of course, writing notes about anything, Bookmarks-logs of your favourite bookmarks at, and a To-Do list. A unique feature of Netvibes is that it offers Hindi language support.
"The Ecosystem"
The Netvibes Ecosystem is a community where modules, feeds, podcasts, Events (a calendar of events published by users), and Tabs (personal tabs, again published by users) are submitted and shared by the users of the community-it's a directory of content and services available.

You can publish your own Tab which carries content you've configured, and share it with others. At the same time, you can add other modules to your page from those available in the community list (and remove unwanted ones). The Ecosystem makes Netvibes community-oriented, enabling users to interact with developers and vice versa. References and explanations of particular features are available on their blog.

We personally found this site better than the Google personalised page or any other such site: whatever module you might need is listed in the "Add Content" menu; and the RSS feeds are easily configurable and readable in the same browser. For instance, if you want to go further with a particular news item, you can read more within the feed reader on Netvibes. The Google personalised home takes you to the site, in contrast.

More than five million users have already registered at Netvibes; we did our two bits worth for that number! A good feel, sober looks, speedy functionality, and, of course, the all-at-one-place formula.

Team DigitTeam Digit

All of us are better than one of us.