While there are a number of Web 2.0, Ajax, personalized home page products (myAOL, yourminis, iGoogle, Netvibes, etc) that leverage syndication for content updates. I recently found three applications that seem to lean towards a more minimalist visual bookmarking startpage approach. In this article, I will take a closer look these products, so as to point out some alternative approaches to the classic personalized startpage.
Homepage Startup - Homepage Startup offers the most minimalist approach of the three products. It offers the ability to bookmark thumbnail images of the sites you frequently visit. Homepage Startup turns its page social by allowing users to share their pages with their own subdomain URL. A screen-shot of the page is below.
Only2Clicks - Only2Clicks tries to do what its name implies and keep your favorite sites only two clicks away. It takes a very similar approach to that of Homepage Startup but has additional features and visual design to make the experience seem more polished. A screen-shot of the page is below.
symbaloo - Launched in June 2007, this Netherlands-based startup leverages a uniquely designed interface that reminds me of the iPhone. I wonder which came first? Each cube on the grid layout symbolizes a different visually bookmarked site or service. The page is organized with a number of open cubes but also offers some default cubes around the four corners of the layout (i.e. calendar, dictionary, videos, photos, podcasts, etc) and a search box in the center of the page. I thought this was a very clean and simple approach. A screen-shot of the page is below.
Bottom-line: There are lots of ways to innovate on the personalized startpage, some of which may even seem like a step backwards but everyone is different and sometimes less is more.