I was on the road last week and weekend for TECH cocktail Boston 2 so down time and internet access were sparse, preventing me from wishing myAOL, the personalized startpage product I moved to the east coast to work on for AOL, a proper one year birthday.
Happy birthday myAOL - my oh my, you are looking good at one!
I must first note, I am no longer part of the myAOL team as I have been reassigned to the People Network which includes Bebo, AIM, ICQ, Yedda and Goowy. But I wanted to take a moment to check in with the lovable startpage product that I spent over a year and half working on to see just how it has evolved since launching myAOL in July 2007.
Since launch, myAOL has been rolled out in 20 countries with a global following and is servicing millions of unique visitors a month. myAOL started to offer themes in January and has been adding additional themes since which really makes the product experience pop and I assume help to increase the engagement of the personalized product. I really like the golf, the mountain view, potting soil, hot rod and urban themes. With ready-made pages for technology, sports, finance and more, myAOL gives users a starting point for customizing the home page experience to their liking.
myAOL has been adding a number widgets. Some of which offer the ability to keep track of anything from your AOL Mail, Yahoo Mail and Gmail to your friends on Facebook. While others track local gas prices and even keep track of your to do lists. You can check out the full myAOL gallery of widgets and see for yourself. Speaking of widgets, myAOL recently announced a move to the Google Gadgets OpenSocial framework which should enable myAOL to benefit and leverage any Google gadget out there as well as work with the number of gadget developers to make unique myAOL offerings. If you are a publisher you should probably consider adding the myAOL button to your list of RSS subscription options - details on adding the myAOL button here.
myAOL launched with a couple of other tabs on the startpage which included full RSS feed reader and bookmarking product called Favorites and Mgnet for content recommendations. Mgnet is still offered by myAOL but has since been removed from the first time user experience as it just never really took off.
Just as myAOL was celebrating one year of service, TechCrunch and a few others picked up on a story about a number of AOL services being decommissioned which included products like BlueString which I covered as it launched at TechCrunch40 less than a year ago. That said, I give a tip of the hat to the myAOL team, as my former teammates have created a great personalized startpage experience that they should be proud of. I say this knowing what many people out there may NOT know what it is like to create a product from scratch in a large organization like AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft or Google - it is damn hard! It is not something to be taken lightly and is definitely something to be proud of. myAOL is not going away anytime soon and I hope that it continues to evolve as its audience continues to grow across the globe.