Personalized web platform service Netvibes announced their new Netvibes Labs section today. Labs will give users an early peek at new features being developed for the Netvibes platform, along with the widget wishlist: an area to make widget suggestions and vote on the best ideas. At launch, Netvibes Labs will have three projects available for testing, a theme designer, a tag cloud app, and a tool for 'spring cleaning' old or unread feeds.

Widget Wishlist

The Widget Wishlist is a section of Netvibes Labs that accepts suggestions for new widgets and allows other Labs users to vote on the wishes they think have the most potential. After voting (with or without a comment), there is a button to move to another wish at random. The wishlist page also maintains a list of the top ten most popular wishes, and how many people have voted them up and down. Finally, there is an input box to make up to three 160-character wishes (per day according to the Netvibes blog).

Projects

  • Theme Designer: This is a GUI-based tool that lets you choose the colors and background image for your private Netvibes page, and it generates and applies the XML theme automatically. Easy.
  • Tag Cloud: This tool analyzes the content on your Netvibes page and generates a tag cloud. From this cloud you can click on words that interest you and a search will be made for widgets that use the specified keyword. One click gets that widget on your page. Easy.
  • Spring Cleaning: This is especially good for those folks who have had a lot of feed widgets on their Netvibes page, and need help weeding out the old stuff. Feeds are placed in one of four categories: Never read, 30 days, 6 months, and 1 year. Then, with a couple of clicks, you can archive the feeds you no longer read. Easy.

Summary

So there's a lot of easy already happening here. The initial Netvibes Labs tools are fairly simple and straightforward, the most complex tool being the theme designer (which actually has a bug we found - we couldn't add a background image using Firefox). But we're guessing that's how these labs tools will probably be developed; precise, simple tools to address a certain issue or need in the Netvibes community. So far, we like what we are seeing.