I see a tool that if nurtured properly could become the gatekeeper to my attention. Just like MySpace has the attention of its 100 million plus users, Netvibes can do the same, but as a starting point for our digital journeys.
It’s funny that I will disagree here – since I founded a “start page” company a year or so ago.Ã‚Â Start pages (at least as they are designed today) do not help me filter information – in fact, they tend to do the opposite.Ã‚Â They tend to be busy, and unorganized and have no sense of “what is important to me”.Ã‚Â They are like the closet in the spare bedroom, or just about any American’s garage – they suck things into them and rarely kick any jewels back out.Ã‚Â By the time you find something of value in the “muck” it is outdated, broken, or no longer in fashion.
“Start Pages” are a niche market now, and they will stay a niche market until they learn how to show me what is important to me in the context of what I am doing and just filter the rest of the crap out – until “what I am doing” changes.
The problem with start pages is that it is too damn easy to add a ton of meaningless content to them – which causes the important content to get lost (or, in my case, I go to a start page because I have 20 minutes or so to kill and I glance at it and it is so damn busy that I know I won’t get anything done in 15 minutes – so I leave).
Here’s an idea – combine a start page with search.Ã‚Â Dynamically build me a start page based on both my active searches and any passive data that a desktop search application finds about the files/content I am working with.Ã‚Â Show me stuff I didn’t even know would be useful to me, instead of that “astrology widget” I put on my start page eight months ago because that was about all there was to put there.