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Netvibes Universe goes live

My timing is usually spot on, but this time, it’s been impeccable. My comparison of Google Personal versus Netvibes couldn’t have come at a better time.

Only a few days ago did news surface that Netvibes were up to something, and I made a stab at guess as to what that something was:

“By way of some exceptionally idle speculatin’, I’d stab at a guess and say that maybe the idea behind Netvibes Universe is to add in more glue of the social kind and allow people to create custom channels, like ‘Lifestreams‘, or even ‘Workstreams‘ for example, pulling in content from various data sources, like,, Flickr et al.”

And I wasn’t that far off as it looks like personal pages are making a come back, and just when we thought they were dead & gone!

“This afternoon Netvibes will announce the launch of Netvibes Universe, allowing users to create highly customized versions of Netvibes and publish them for public access. Netvibes has created 100 or so branded versions for the launch – users will be able to create these in about six weeks.”

While some people will be chomping at the bit to make their very own personal web pages, by delaying this feature for the public means that the more qualitative ‘100 or so branded versions’ get to spread the word and emphasize the quality over the quantity.

Some of the branded Netvibes Universe’s include artists like 50 Cent, Ben Harper, Deftones, G-Unit, Mandy Moore, Moby, Pretty Ricky, and Snoop Dogg, as well as major news sites such as CBS, CNN Money,,, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, TIME, Inc., USAToday and the Washington Post.

Strangely absent from this list is a BBC Netvibes Universe. I would have imagined these guys being at the forefront of this kind of thing.

What’s obvious is that this new breed of personal web pages aren’t the catch-all portal pages of old, such as those from Netscape, for example.

While they did sport customization features, to add your own channels and content, these new personal web pages pull in widgets, which take them from being ostensibly news portals to venues for your own stuff — be that stuff your music, your bookmarks, your contacts, events, people and files.

The web just got a lot more personal…

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By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

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