There has been an ongoing battle with personalized start pages for months now and I can probably name around a dozen or so by now if you gave me a few minutes. Michael Arrington certainly knows them all after profiling one after another. Well, I have finally made my decision. The one start page that continues to impress me and the one that has won me over is Netvibes. Why? Because Netvibes shows improvement week after week, feature after feature. Its fast loading, allows me to do everything that I need, and just recently released, Netvibes now has support for multiple pages with tabs.

I have been keeping an eye on the preview version of Netvibes for the last week or so playing with the new tab support and anticipating its launch. The time has come and in just this week, Netvibes has optimized for faster performance, added support for tabs, RSS tool-tips, authenticated feed support, a new screen panel allowing you to select the amount of columns shown, and more. Not long before that, Netvibes released Box.net storage integration, drag and drop functionality, Webcal support, and even a mini API that can be used to develop your own content blocks.

I am very impressed. With their continuos efforts and true dedication to the service and its users, I know Netvibes is the start page for me. I have just recently started using Box.net for online storage and with the new Netvibes support, I don’t even have to go to Box.net’s website. RSS is now amazingly fast and excellently executed, although I still don’t think I can ever switch completely to reading feeds outside of Bloglines. The authenticated feed support is a major plus for me as well because I have recently started using secure services, like Basecamp, for my company and now when entering a secured feed in Netvibes, it prompts you for a username and password instead of a failed message (like what Bloglines has been treating me with). Lastly, the tab support topped it off rather nicely by allowing me to put the content I need over and over each day on the main page, put content for work related notes, files, and secure feeds in one tab, and lastly, a tab for feeds that I read every day.

Rundown of some of Netvibes key-features helping with my decision:

  • Built-in Feed Reader
  • Check your mail (POP, IMAP, Gmail, Yahoo)
  • Web Search for multiple engines
  • Multi-Page Tabbing
  • Very Fast (important)
  • Todo Lists
  • Del.icio.us Integration
  • Box.net Online File Storage
  • Ical/Webcal Calendar Viewer
  • Flickr Photos
  • Authenticated Feed Support
  • Writely Documents
  • Customizable panels (1-4 Column layout)
  • Mini API to create custom content blocks (Neat!)

With that said, I am now proud to say that Netvibes has taken place of my browsers homepage. A page in my browser that Google has lived for years. Although, in a way, Google still does remain because it is in fact the default search engine placed in the middle column of my Netvibes page. Congratulations, Netvibes, on all the progress and success. Keep it up!

(Note: The Netvibes Blog is filled with detailed information on recent updates.)


20 Comments on “Netvibes Continues to Impress”

  1. steve says:

    Yes, the best just keeps getting better.

  2. Ole Brandenburg says:

    Just a quick heads up, in case you haven’t tried out Pageflakes yet. We introduced multiple tabs 4 weeks ago. We also have a large number of applications (widgets). In fact we have around 60 at the moment, compared to 20 at Netvibes. 40 of our applications have been developed by community developers – yes, we did start with an open API and didn’t just open it now. Let me know what we can try to improve at Pageflakes so that you might reconsider. You can contact me directly via email at ole@pageflakes.com

  3. Charles Jolley says:

    Thanks for pointing us to this, Brian. I have contacted them about adding a widget for Sproutit Mailroom.

  4. David Haddad says:

    Thanks Brian and thanks also Ole. I’m having great fun at the moment deciding whether I’ll be using Netvibes or Cornflakes. These are the first truly useful personalized start pages I have seen.

    Ole, you asked for feedback :-). You offer some Really neat features but I think ease of use could be improved. I was able to IMMEDIATELY customize Netvibes to my liking. After 5 minutes I still can’t figure out how or if I can add bookmarks to your site (so far I’ve found feeds, top 4 bookmarks (limit of 4) etc.). Keep up the exciting work.

  5. David Haddad says:

    Sorry Ole, NOT cornflakes, pageflakes :-). LOL.

  6. Brian Benzinger says:

    Haha, David. You’ve just made my day. Cornflakes. And speaking of.. that sounds rather tasty this morning.

    Ole, thanks for mentioning Pageflakes. I am very away of it and have tried it numerous times. I’m pretty set on my ways, but I will continue to try out Pageflakes. One thing that lead me away from it was the inline RSS Reader. I love how you give the option to select it or not, but when you do use it, it only shows partial posts and invalid chaters appear (example, “Let’s” appeared as, “Let’s”). There are just some minor things here and there that Netvibes manages to do a little cleaner that helped make my decision. But really, Ole, Pageflakes is fantastic. It really is and congrats to the first place in the SEOMoz Awards, but at this point, it’s more of a comfort kind of thing with Netvibes.

    Thanks for the comments!

  7. Natalie Ferguson says:

    Ha ha, I was reading your post through netvibes and had to quickly scroll to the top of the page to see if the tabs had indeed arrived. I can’t believe I missed them! That non-netvibes day yesterday was completely worthwhile. I like the way, with inclusion of Box, and previously writely etc, Netvibes is becoming less of a start page and more the center of your web based office.

  8. David Haddad says:

    BTW, how do these sites generate revenue since they don’t serve up ads?

  9. Ole Brandenburg says:

    #4 Thanks for your feedback. Have you tried the “top links” flake at: http://www2.pageflakes.com/flakegallery/all6.html

    #6 Yes, we are aware of that bug. It’s far from perfect. Quick fix for you: click on edit and select “from browser” instead of “from feed”.

    Thanks again
    Ole

  10. erwin blom says:

    “The authenticated feed support is a major plus for me as well because I have recently started using secure services, like Basecamp, for my company and now when entering a secured feed in Netvibes, it prompts you for a username and password instead of a failed message (like what Bloglines has been treating me with).”

    With me the Basecamp stuff doesn’t work due to https it seems.
    How did you resolve that?

  11. Brian Benzinger says:

    Erwin – I just had went to Basecamp, clicked on the feed icon, and got the RSS feed address they supplied. I then created a new tab in Netvibes for work and clicked to add a feed. When I pasted in the address, Netvibes brought up a form asking for a username and password. I entered it and it worked. It also appears as if Netvibes altered the URL to include my username in the address (no password though).

    There was a different service I had attempted to insert that uses authentication, but it didn’t validate with Netvibes. Not sure why, but some authenticated feeds seem to work, while others don’t. I’ll have to look into that and maybe get in contact with them.

    But the basecamp feed seems to be working well and it is secure. Netvibes is password protected and the basecamp feed is password protected. I’m happy ;-)

  12. Razvan says:

    Brian, number of columns is 2-4. If they make it 1-4 that will be a killer feature. Having the posibility to make it 1 column will allow you to load it in the browser’s sidebar and add more functionality

  13. Web 2.0 » Netvibes: acum cu taburi says:

    [...] Netvibes Continues to Impress [...]

  14. Alan says:

    There is only one thing that I don’t like about Netvibes being my actual start page… it’s too damn addictive and procrastination inspiring so I removed it and now just use a blank page.

    Apart from that, A++ piece of web kit that just gets better all the time.

    Nice write up btw…

  15. erwin blom says:

    Strange, Basecamp doesn’t work for me this way.

  16. Michael says:

    Personally, Protopage does it for me. I have used it to create two web pages and it works quite well for that purpose.

  17. Billy Warhol says:

    yes Flickr Photos are very addictive!!

    ;))

  18. tim norton says:

    I’ve been lovng this new netvibes version, but as much as i get asked for teh username and pword for my basecamp secure rss, after that theres no way of saving it it seems, cant see what i’m missing, have tried so many times since launch, am i missing something?

    thanks,

    tim.

  19. Julian says:

    net vibes is great!! so is Basecamp… i just wish they would work well together… i can’t fugure out which one of them is failing. The BC rss feed shows the first time you add it to netvibes but fails shortly after… any ideas if this can be fixed/worked around?

  20. Julian says:

    it seems to be working now!