Update: Zimbio is now open to public. Enjoy!

Remember Zoozio? You know, the service that many have assumed to be yet another start page? Well, Zoozio is now called Zimbio and rather then being yet another start page like it has been thought to be, Zimbio is a feature packed, people powered, web portal of information on just about anything. Zimbio is all about helping people learn from others on the web. In other words, user submitted content plays a big role in their service and in turn the content will make Zimbio an excellent source of information for helping others learn and easily find what they are in search for.

I have had the pleasure to test Zimbio (private beta) and I am very impressed with what I have seen. In short, the service could be explained to be portals of information with a mix of user generated and syndicated content. More so, in appearance it could be related to many start pages with Wiki like functionality in that any member can contribute content to any portal. When visiting Zimbio, you will be presented with 24 main categories each with user created portals. Anyone can view, search, and subscribe to these portals and when signing up can contribute content or even create their own portal which other users can contribute to as well.

Each portal consists of a portal blog, photo albums, links, feeds, custom saved searches, syndicated content from news sites and blogs, notes, a forum for discussion, and more. Yes, that’s a lot of information and when receiving good user activity, they become very informative and content rich portals. You, being a user, is given the ability to add (bookmarklets available for links), edit, and rate content throughout any portal. On the other hand, Guru’s, as Zimbio calls them, are users with the highest access to a portal which can arrage, review, and manage content in the portals they are assigned. So, in a sense, it is like a Wiki, but in the format of a start page. There is even an activity log that lists all recent modifications to a portal.

Every content type can have its own panels on the start page of a portal. This is great, but sometimes you want more information then what the start page provides. This is why every content type also has their own seperate pages that contain all recent and archived content. For example, in the screenshot above, I am in the member photos page of the portal, Aviation and can view all photos submitted to this portal rather then the few visible on the start page. Every content type is given their own separate page full of user contributed information, although one feature I would love to see here is a way to subscribe to content in a portals page. One page of a portal that I have grown to love and would like to subscribe to is the Trackers page which consists of image, news, and blog search rolls. These rolls are groups of results for a set of saved keywords on any topic. So, for example, I could view the blog search roll in the Web 2.0 portal and view blog postings related to Web 2.0 from various blog search sources.

Zimbio has shown me it’s potential and I am overall impressed with the large amount of information that it already contains. There are many portals in 24 different categories each filled with content, and when user contributed content does note exists in a portal, there’s still at least some basic information, photos, and search trackers for you. I searched for programming, design, cars (Acura, specifically), and so on and all already had portals or were atleast contained in an existing portal. However, there are a few things here and there that I would like to see. For example, a method to save favorite portals to your profile so you can easily navigate to them and RSS feeds to individual sections of a portal allowing members to easily track portals. I also think it would be great to have a list of most active portals or recently modified portals to direct users to active portals. Other then that, if users contribute content as hoped, I’d imagine Zimbio being an amazing resource of information and that the Zimbio team will accomplish their mission of helping people learn from others. There are other related services, such as Boxxet and Squidoo, but I feel Zimbio contains much more functionality and it will be interesting to see how things play out.

Zimbio – The People’s Guide to the Web.

3 Comments on “Zimbio – The People’s Guide to the Web”

  1. 3spots says:

    Thanks, I needed to know this. :)

  2. Danny Khatib says:

    Just wanted to let you know that we’ve opened our site up to the public today…and our Category pages (Entertainment, Tech & Computers, etc.) can now be sorted by most active or last updated portals. More stats on member and portal activity to come soon!

    Thanks again for the encouragement and the feature requests (keep em coming!)…

  3. Untitled « sshell’s says:

    [...] Zimbio – The People’s Guide to the Web Update: Zimbio is now open to public. Enjoy!Remember Zoozio? You know, the service that many have assumed to be yet another start page? Well, Zoozio is now called Zimbio and rather [...]