Home AJAX homepages – Portals 2.0?

AJAX homepages – Portals 2.0?

I’ve been tracking the development of all the personalized start pages that have
flowered up over the past year. Live.com, Google Personalized Homepage, Netvibes,
PageFlakes, et al. These are services that don’t just offer a place to store all your
content and links – but house your widgets, gadgets and web services too. I’ll be
publishing an analysis of the feature sets of the leading services on ZDNet tonight, but
I want to set the scene by discussing their growing popularity – which makes for an
obvious comparison to portals in the late 90’s. 

TechCrunch calls them
AJAX homepages, because they all use AJAX in the UI. For that reason there’s something
uniquely ‘Web 2.0’ about personalized start pages. But in other ways, they harken back to
the dot com era when portals were all
the rage
(Excite, AltaVista, Lycos, etc). For example, the main aim of the game is
still getting traffic

Looking at the 2006 class of portals/personalized pages, there are two distinct

1) The big guns: Microsoft (live.com), Google (Google Personalized Homepage) and Yahoo
(My Yahoo, which is still mostly an old-style portal).

2) The little companies: Netvibes, Protopage, PageFlakes and a host of other
contenders which I’ll mention in my ZDNet post.

In terms of traffic, it’s difficult to gauge how the big guns compare to one another.
But amongst the little guys Netvibes has been getting all the buzz and early traffic,
as this Alexa chart shows:

To put that into perspective though, it’s small potatoes compared to live.com:

Update: A source at Microsoft tells me that the Live.com figure on Alexa may include mail.live.com, which gets a lot of traffic. If that’s the case, take the following paragraph with a grain of salt…

I added the top web-based RSS Reader Bloglines into the chart to show just how
significant Live.com – and Personalized start pages in general – are becoming. Bloglines
smokes every other web-based RSS Reader and has been no slug in traffic growth lately,
yet it was overtaken in traffic by Live.com after just 1-2 months. In fact Live.com
currently has double the amount of traffic of Bloglines! I would imagine Google isn’t too
far behind Live.com either.

It goes to show how valuable this type of service could be, in terms of traffic and
being a ‘start page’ for users. More grist for the Portals 2.0 mill, because portals too were all about
getting ‘eyeballs’ and traffic.

Incidentally, I have a question for you: where is Yahoo in all this? My Yahoo
is more like a dot com portal than a Personalized start page. Aside from the obvious
observation that My Yahoo isn’t made of AJAX, it’s still basically a portal for mostly
static content. Yahoo owns one of the leading widget makers, konfabulator (now known as Yahoo! Widgets), but it’s not
integrated with My Yahoo. Why haven’t they joined the ‘AJAX homepages’ party yet?

UPDATE: I’ve now posted an Ajax homepages market review on ZDNet.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.