Start page heaven

For years, I’ve been using My Yahoo! as my start page. It has lots of great modules available, I use a free Yahoo! account as my “web form” address (instead of Hotmail), and I use Yahoo! groups, all of which has made it pretty functional. When they added the ability to add any RSS feed instead of just their own modules, I was convinced that I’d never switch.

Today, I tried out Netvibes, and I’ve already switched my start page over. There’s a few things that I’m missing (such as the movie times for my local theatre), but there other things that I find to be useful enough to make the switch.

  • First of all, a to do list. That sounds like a small thing, and there are a ton of other apps that will do that for me, but to have it integrated into my start page so that it stares me in the face every time I open my browser is a big help.
  • Secondly, and more significant, is access into my POP mail account so that the last 5 (number configurable) email subject lines are displayed. It doesn’t provide click-through access to my email, but gives me a heads-up about anything that might need my attention. Since I have a bookmarks module containing a link to my webmail immediately below that, I effectively have one-click access to my email anyway, which is one click less than it takes to access it via MyYahoo. I spend almost my entire day with multiple tabs open in Firefox, but without Outlook open because it can be a real resource hog, so I sometimes just handle email directly through the webmail client. The really ironic part is that Yahoo! hosts my email (my real paid account as well as my free one), yet I can’t do this with MyYahoo: it will only provide a count of the number of messages in my free Yahoo! account on the MyYahoo page, and nothing related to my real account.
  • Third is the interface: sleek, easy to use, and advertising-free (for now). I suppose that they’ll have to monetize this through advertising at some point, but right now it’s beautifully unadorned.
  • Last, I just figured out how to add an iCal feed from my upcoming.org calendar – cool! And there are a ton of independently-created add-ins, such as the Google maps module which provides the functionality that is missing natively.

Just to summarize, here’s what I have on my NetVibes start page:

  • Left column: Upcoming.org (viewable as agenda/week/month); BBC news headlines; CBC news headlines
  • Centre column: POP mail (last 6 email senders/subjects); bookmarks (imported from my Firefox bookmarks, organized in folders)
  • Right column: To do list (with “done” checkboxes); Toronto weather; Google map search form; Mountain View weather (I’m headed there soon for Mashup Camp; also shows the current date/time there)

5 thoughts on “Start page heaven

  1. Nice service, but I will think twice before giving my login information of my Gmail account to a startup based in paris(When you configure Mail you have to give your password), better to go with Yahoo alteast someone is responsible

  2. Are you implying that Americans, who are in the process of passing all sorts of laws that will violate my online privacy, are somehow more trustworthy than the French? Not where I come from…

  3. It’s not about French or Americans :),it is about credibility so it’s yahoo or netvibes. As we try out new things in the web we don’t realize we are giving too much of information about ourselves, some companies may be acquired and some go out of business and our dynamic identity is transfered from one company to another or stolen, better to be careful.

  4. If I didn’t want to enter my email password, then I could still have all the other functionality, and one-click access to my Yahoo webmail by adding it as a bookmark, which gives me better functionality than MyYahoo does now.

    btw, if it’s not about French or Americans, then no need to state the startup is in Paris, only that they’re a startup. 🙂

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