AJAX Desktops : A (Very) Quick Comparison

The Second Coming of personal portal pages has been fun to watch. I’m not a big fan of portals from an interaction design perspective. I find them to be too…generic (that’s for another blog entry). Regardless, they can be very useful if designed correctly and with the right set of features.
Of course, the big players have their offerings:

Then you’ve go some of the lesser-known upstarts:

  • Protopage (a sort of virtual desktop for the Web)
  • Netvibes
  • Goowy (a Flash-based desktop with an impressive email and calendaring piece).
  • Eskobo (which looks eerily similar to Microsoft’s offering).

In my oh-so humble opinion, the hands-down winner is Netvibes. It’s fast, straightforward, and constantly growing. It can pull in your email (POP or IMAP), supports sticky notes and to-do lists, along with your usual weather and RSS support. It handily took care of my 200+ OPML feed list import (many throw up on it or hang). What is really impressive is the speed with which the Netvibes team is improving upon and fixing Netvibes. Their blog provides insight into an impressively agile development process. Take a look at how many features were introduced in the last 20 days alone. Frightening. The big boys should stop and look at what these guys are doing. Very impressive.

3 Comments AJAX Desktops : A (Very) Quick Comparison

  1. Campbell

    Im just waiting to see how the live site ties in with messenger and all the other live services….and ofcourse Vista if it ever makes it out of beta.

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  2. toys

    Start.com or live.com appear to still be in incubation… or, it seems they’re just not taking off. Live has turned out just not to work as much as Microsoft would have hoped. I don’t understand even the choice of name – I can understand Start (apparently, from what I hear, Microsoft conducted five years of research into the start button idea… I still find it strange that you have to push ‘start’ to shut down the machine, but that’s another whole story.) At least in VISTA, the button doesn’t say ‘start’ anymore, but is rather just the Windows emblem (they could have done that a long time ago, methinks.)

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