Today the NY Times announced its new personalized start page, called My Times. As with existing 'start pages', such as My Yahoo, Pageflakes and Netvibes, My Times is a way to create a personal homepage for news and mini web apps - by adding RSS feeds and other widgets. With My Times you can also receive recommendations from NY Times journalists, which seems to be the only thing differentiating this product from others. Like Dave Winer, I'm left with the impression of a fairly bland and not very innovative product. As Dave said, "a couple of generations behind Google Reader."

The First Look blog by Times staff explains somewhat their goal for My Times - at this point it's a fairly basic personalized start page for NY Times readers, but there's more advanced functionality in the pipeline.

My Times will likely get a lot of use from existing NY Times readers. Still, it's hard to see this making much headway into other start pages and RSS Readers. As Henry Blodgett put it, it won't stop "the demise of its print business".

The NY Times though has always been one of the best implementers of Web technologies among the big media publications. They were among the first to use RSS and their desktop app Times Reader (built with Microsoft WPF technology) that launched September 2006 was impressive. So it's good to see the Times offering their readers a start page. Speaking as a web tech enthusiast, of course I'd like to see more advanced widgets and more experiments done with recommendation services (using their big name journalists). But not a bad start, if you'll excuse the pun.