Pageflakes, one of the little startups in the 'personalized start page' market, has come out with a page publishing feature that nicely connects with my post the other day: Web 2.0 market segment mashups. In that post I noted that we're seeing a lot of market segment cross-over nowadays, in terms of functionality and feature sets. I also made the point that 'personalized start pages' (such as Pageflakes) are designed to be a user's private homepage on the Web for their content subscriptions and web apps. But at the time I thought they didn't have much in common with the 'Microcontent Aggregators' I'd been reviewing (such as Peoplefeeds and Suprglu), which are more focused on aggregating and publishing a user's personal content onto one page.
However this new feature by Pageflakes puts those definitions to the test, because it enables you to publish your Pageflakes homepage so that others may view it - perhaps just friends, or even make it totally public. As explained by Ole Brandenburg:
"It's a good way to quickly setup a readonly site of yours on the web. Put notes, todo list, some feeds, a clock on your public page and you have a nice site of yours!"
So in a way, this publishing feature intersects with the content management functionality of the likes of Peoplefeeds and Suprglu. Or as Ian Kennedy from Yahoo! put it so well, in a comment on my market segment mashups post:
"The line between what you read and what you (re)publish is, as you point out, becoming blurred. This is a complex design problem but everyone's thinking about it so we should see some interesting solutions in the next couple of months."
Currently I think this feature by Pageflakes is
'read only' [update - correction, shared pages can in fact be edited] - but what if they went
even further and enabled other people to (re)write the site (subject to some security or
approval mechanism perhaps by the start page owner). That would add another layer onto
web services. Because if you publish your personal homepage so that others may read/write
it too, well then essentially you're creating a new web service. Or does that get too
At any rate, Pageflakes has around 70 widgets now (they call them flakes) and is one of the best start pages on the market currently. Both Pageflakes and Netvibes are doing some unique things and pushing the boundaries. I get the feeling there is room for more than a few 'little guys' in a market which also features Microsoft (live.com), Google, AOL and Yahoo widgets.