Do Pageflakes and Netvibes have any chance against Facebook?

Richard MacManus asks an interesting question about Pageflakes and Netvibes: what chance do they have?

Facebook is becoming the home page for many of us. Why? Because our friends are a lot more interesting than anything over on Yahoo News or TechMeme or other places. And because Facebook has become the fastest-moving application platform around. Every day someone sends me another application (or four, like showed up today without me asking for them — I didn’t add them cause I don’t add stuff that’s obviously aimed at a younger demographic, but, still, they are there, and SOMEONE is using them, otherwise I wouldn’t get them sent to me).

How would I deal with Facebook? Make Facebook a container on one of these. Just like Facebook made everything else in my life (Upcoming, Flickr, Google Reader, WordPress, etc etc etc) a container on Facebook.

What do you think? If you ran Pageflakes or Netvibes (or one of the other well known “home pages”) what would you do?

93 thoughts on “Do Pageflakes and Netvibes have any chance against Facebook?

  1. Another site similar to netvibes/pageflakes called Velocitized – i just launched this and am still working on development – it has a different twist to it that is geared only toward speeding up the daily Internet experience, not a social site at this point. http://www.velocitized.net/

  2. Another site similar to netvibes/pageflakes called Velocitized – i just launched this and am still working on development – it has a different twist to it that is geared only toward speeding up the daily Internet experience, not a social site at this point. http://www.velocitized.net/

  3. I have the same issue with Facebook — I get several of these “install movie app” or “install super-wall app” everyday. Annoying — but as long as you set your email preferences to NOT tell you when this happens, it seems ok. I think there may also be a way to block all these apps, but I’ve not found it yet. Any ideas?

    Here a site that looks just like netvibes:
    http://www.browserstart.org

  4. I have the same issue with Facebook — I get several of these “install movie app” or “install super-wall app” everyday. Annoying — but as long as you set your email preferences to NOT tell you when this happens, it seems ok. I think there may also be a way to block all these apps, but I’ve not found it yet. Any ideas?

    Here a site that looks just like netvibes:
    http://www.browserstart.org

  5. Thanks for the question.

    Compared to my other social networks, I’ve been very slow with Facebook to maintain a high-signal to noise ratio. Since this is the 4th active social network, not to mention all of the others, I’ve been playing with. It’s time to go slow.

    I think Pageflakes has lost control of their message or mispositioned themselves. Their Blizzard release has been blown out as head-to-head competitor to Facebook which I don’t see.

    I think traditional start pages and social networks will appeal to diferent types of people. Obviously, social networks appeal to online social extroverts which you Robert are a prime example.

    In regards of whether or not Netvibes and Pageflakes should compete head-to-head with Facebook. — No. That battle is done.

    The 30 million Facebook users understats its market-share in certain demos. It is the dominant application for college students which is re-ordering the way they fundamentally experience the internet. Expect to see less communication software usage from this segment as they shift to Facebook. This is similar to what happened in Korea.

    Thanks for the good question.

  6. Thanks for the question.

    Compared to my other social networks, I’ve been very slow with Facebook to maintain a high-signal to noise ratio. Since this is the 4th active social network, not to mention all of the others, I’ve been playing with. It’s time to go slow.

    I think Pageflakes has lost control of their message or mispositioned themselves. Their Blizzard release has been blown out as head-to-head competitor to Facebook which I don’t see.

    I think traditional start pages and social networks will appeal to diferent types of people. Obviously, social networks appeal to online social extroverts which you Robert are a prime example.

    In regards of whether or not Netvibes and Pageflakes should compete head-to-head with Facebook. — No. That battle is done.

    The 30 million Facebook users understats its market-share in certain demos. It is the dominant application for college students which is re-ordering the way they fundamentally experience the internet. Expect to see less communication software usage from this segment as they shift to Facebook. This is similar to what happened in Korea.

    Thanks for the good question.

  7. Pageflakes allow me to aggregate my favorite feeds into a single page, and create other pages based on my own categories, such as stock watch, news, organizer, etc. So pageflakes is essentially my first choice information center and where I refer back often. Best part is how pageflakes has designed a user-friendly interface for just about anyone to sign up for an account and start using it.

    Cheers
    Chi howe

  8. Pageflakes allow me to aggregate my favorite feeds into a single page, and create other pages based on my own categories, such as stock watch, news, organizer, etc. So pageflakes is essentially my first choice information center and where I refer back often. Best part is how pageflakes has designed a user-friendly interface for just about anyone to sign up for an account and start using it.

    Cheers
    Chi howe

  9. I must say I now use them both but use them for different purposes. I used pageflakes first and in addition to using it as a personal news source, I also use it as a resource for some companies I work with. I share a page with all the lastest news in the mobile industry from blog, podcasts, competitors, news sources with my peers.

    FaceBook I use more socially to keep in touch, to find people, and informally share apps and information. I don’t really see Facebook replacing how i use pageflakes nor do I see myself using pageflakes as a social networking tool.

  10. I must say I now use them both but use them for different purposes. I used pageflakes first and in addition to using it as a personal news source, I also use it as a resource for some companies I work with. I share a page with all the lastest news in the mobile industry from blog, podcasts, competitors, news sources with my peers.

    FaceBook I use more socially to keep in touch, to find people, and informally share apps and information. I don’t really see Facebook replacing how i use pageflakes nor do I see myself using pageflakes as a social networking tool.

  11. doesn’t the question oversimplify the dynamic?

    we now have enough experience with additional layers of communication to realize that these different mechanisms serve different needs. Here is a question in the same vein: Given that many people use cell phones just to say banal commentary like “I am sitting on the runway waiting to take off”, will twitter replace cell phones?

    apples and oranges or gas stoves and smoothie makers.

    Pageflakes’ new release had me switch from netvibes. I don’t get ‘application or “be my friend” spam’ on either of them though like i do on facebook.

  12. doesn’t the question oversimplify the dynamic?

    we now have enough experience with additional layers of communication to realize that these different mechanisms serve different needs. Here is a question in the same vein: Given that many people use cell phones just to say banal commentary like “I am sitting on the runway waiting to take off”, will twitter replace cell phones?

    apples and oranges or gas stoves and smoothie makers.

    Pageflakes’ new release had me switch from netvibes. I don’t get ‘application or “be my friend” spam’ on either of them though like i do on facebook.

  13. i use pageflakes as my startpage. i group my widgets into seperate pages – 1 page for work stuff (Todo list, Calendar, Mail client), 1 for news (Rss feeds), 1 for entertainment (Video, audio, images, games, comics). the new “People” feature of pageflakes allows users to easily find people with similar interests, see how they arrange their pages and what widgets/feeds they use.

    i am also a fan of facebook and use it to check up on my friends and relatives.

    so for me at least the two applications serve different purposes. facebook is great for entertainment + networking but you still have to rely on startpages like Pageflakes if you want the bigger deal (work + entertainment).

    i honestly cant see facebook wooing users away from their start pages anytime soon.

  14. i use pageflakes as my startpage. i group my widgets into seperate pages – 1 page for work stuff (Todo list, Calendar, Mail client), 1 for news (Rss feeds), 1 for entertainment (Video, audio, images, games, comics). the new “People” feature of pageflakes allows users to easily find people with similar interests, see how they arrange their pages and what widgets/feeds they use.

    i am also a fan of facebook and use it to check up on my friends and relatives.

    so for me at least the two applications serve different purposes. facebook is great for entertainment + networking but you still have to rely on startpages like Pageflakes if you want the bigger deal (work + entertainment).

    i honestly cant see facebook wooing users away from their start pages anytime soon.

  15. “Commenter filtering” is what I would develop and offer to my subs if I were Pageflakes or Netvibes or even WordPress or TypePad, for that matter. Nothing more annoying than subscribing to a blog, perusing the often intelligent and entertaining comments that flesh out the posts, then screeching off the road every time you come across a Commenter like Jay (there’s also a faith-oriented blog that has really great posters but is dominated by idiot Commenters that make it tough to even visit the blog). Lots of blogs have ‘em: that one Commenter who ruins it for everyone, who can’t be blocked in good conscious by the blogger due to media censorship considerations, yet who readers would love to just have that person’s comments filtered out as spam on an individual basis as set by the blog subscriber.

  16. “Commenter filtering” is what I would develop and offer to my subs if I were Pageflakes or Netvibes or even WordPress or TypePad, for that matter. Nothing more annoying than subscribing to a blog, perusing the often intelligent and entertaining comments that flesh out the posts, then screeching off the road every time you come across a Commenter like Jay (there’s also a faith-oriented blog that has really great posters but is dominated by idiot Commenters that make it tough to even visit the blog). Lots of blogs have ‘em: that one Commenter who ruins it for everyone, who can’t be blocked in good conscious by the blogger due to media censorship considerations, yet who readers would love to just have that person’s comments filtered out as spam on an individual basis as set by the blog subscriber.

  17. Hi Robert,

    Facebook has a long way to go before it becomes a replacement homepage for Pageflakes. Checking out my friends or drawing silly graffiti pics, are less important than keeping up the news.

    I use Facebook, but it’s still a closed environment. I prefer the customisable nature of Pageflakes (I used Netvibes until recently).

    Maybe they’ll open up more of Facebook and allow more modification – but for me, networking comes second to information.

  18. Hi Robert,

    Facebook has a long way to go before it becomes a replacement homepage for Pageflakes. Checking out my friends or drawing silly graffiti pics, are less important than keeping up the news.

    I use Facebook, but it’s still a closed environment. I prefer the customisable nature of Pageflakes (I used Netvibes until recently).

    Maybe they’ll open up more of Facebook and allow more modification – but for me, networking comes second to information.

  19. Robert: interesting debate :-) To be honest, I agree with several of the commenters…I don’t think of us as trying to “go against Facebook.” I love stimul8d’s analogy of this question – “Do Radiators and Gas-Fires have any chance against Smoothie-Makers?”

    I think Pageflakes and its users come from a very different perspective. Our users don’t typically start out as “looking for another social network” or rushing into creating a public profile. They often start with a personalized homepage that they find compelling and engaging with respect to their own interests and activities, while allowing them to dig deeper into them and get engaged with new and interesting Pagecasts, Flakes and other content created by others. They aren’t required to create a public profile or commit to social relationships in order to find our site useful or interesting, but they can still see the activities, interests, and contributions of thers through Pagecasts.

    A lot of what we did with Blizzard resulted from users asking us questions like “Hey, I really like that Pagecast, how do I learn more about the author?” We wanted to give our contributors and Pagecasters a “face” – but only if they wanted one. We then of course thought it would be neat to connect you with people that have similar knowledge or interests – and not necessarily the same friends or social circles, as in pure social networks. We did not, however, consciously set out to create a “Facebook killer.”

    What has resulted, of course, is that some of our users hav discovered a whole new dimension of personalization, in which it is combined with some of the aspects of social networks – the “socialization of personalization” if you will. This is resulting in interactions and communications that to me seem largely different than those on pure social networking sites, and in fact are more likely to be complementary.

    In short, “social networking” at Pageflakes seems to fit a different “application” than Facebook, MySpace, etc. – sometimes you connect with people based on what you know or want to know, rather than on who you know or who you want to know.

  20. Robert: interesting debate :-) To be honest, I agree with several of the commenters…I don’t think of us as trying to “go against Facebook.” I love stimul8d’s analogy of this question – “Do Radiators and Gas-Fires have any chance against Smoothie-Makers?”

    I think Pageflakes and its users come from a very different perspective. Our users don’t typically start out as “looking for another social network” or rushing into creating a public profile. They often start with a personalized homepage that they find compelling and engaging with respect to their own interests and activities, while allowing them to dig deeper into them and get engaged with new and interesting Pagecasts, Flakes and other content created by others. They aren’t required to create a public profile or commit to social relationships in order to find our site useful or interesting, but they can still see the activities, interests, and contributions of thers through Pagecasts.

    A lot of what we did with Blizzard resulted from users asking us questions like “Hey, I really like that Pagecast, how do I learn more about the author?” We wanted to give our contributors and Pagecasters a “face” – but only if they wanted one. We then of course thought it would be neat to connect you with people that have similar knowledge or interests – and not necessarily the same friends or social circles, as in pure social networks. We did not, however, consciously set out to create a “Facebook killer.”

    What has resulted, of course, is that some of our users hav discovered a whole new dimension of personalization, in which it is combined with some of the aspects of social networks – the “socialization of personalization” if you will. This is resulting in interactions and communications that to me seem largely different than those on pure social networking sites, and in fact are more likely to be complementary.

    In short, “social networking” at Pageflakes seems to fit a different “application” than Facebook, MySpace, etc. – sometimes you connect with people based on what you know or want to know, rather than on who you know or who you want to know.

  21. Jay: usually it’s my spam filter that deletes comments. I am deleting comments that are rude and/or just call names without adding any real content. You can do that stuff over on Digg or Valleywag.

  22. Jay: usually it’s my spam filter that deletes comments. I am deleting comments that are rude and/or just call names without adding any real content. You can do that stuff over on Digg or Valleywag.

  23. I don’t think Netvibes, Pageflakes or FB holds a candle to how much more information you can gather quickly by using an RSS reader.

    Call me old fashioned, but I’ll take Wizz reader and my Yahoo! homepage over a two-feed widget and wall of B.S. any day.

    Like the other posters have said, news != social network.

  24. I don’t think Netvibes, Pageflakes or FB holds a candle to how much more information you can gather quickly by using an RSS reader.

    Call me old fashioned, but I’ll take Wizz reader and my Yahoo! homepage over a two-feed widget and wall of B.S. any day.

    Like the other posters have said, news != social network.

  25. Facebook, Netvibes, Google, Pageflakes – they all want one thing: to be your next desktop. They don’t want to just be your first Internet destination, that’s not where the big bucks are at.

    The real question is: Which one of these apps will be your future desktop? Will it be someone else?

  26. Facebook, Netvibes, Google, Pageflakes – they all want one thing: to be your next desktop. They don’t want to just be your first Internet destination, that’s not where the big bucks are at.

    The real question is: Which one of these apps will be your future desktop? Will it be someone else?

  27. A few too many hits on the Facebook crackpipe for you Robert. Facebook is cool and is currently the best general purpose social network. Netvibes is great and serves a completely different purpose. I use them both but they are different and complimentary.

  28. A few too many hits on the Facebook crackpipe for you Robert. Facebook is cool and is currently the best general purpose social network. Netvibes is great and serves a completely different purpose. I use them both but they are different and complimentary.

  29. Apples to Oranges.
    Netvibes allows me to consume all forms of content from global news to tech blogs to online deals.
    Facebook allows me to see what’s going on in my social circles.
    They serve 2 very different functions.

    Why are they being compared to one another? Neither of them are my start page.

    There is one point where they would intersect, though. If Facebook allowed you to get an RSS feed of your news feed, then I could slap that onto netvibes. I’d probably still log into Facebook as the images make the news feed much richer than just text.

  30. Apples to Oranges.
    Netvibes allows me to consume all forms of content from global news to tech blogs to online deals.
    Facebook allows me to see what’s going on in my social circles.
    They serve 2 very different functions.

    Why are they being compared to one another? Neither of them are my start page.

    There is one point where they would intersect, though. If Facebook allowed you to get an RSS feed of your news feed, then I could slap that onto netvibes. I’d probably still log into Facebook as the images make the news feed much richer than just text.

  31. Robert,

    I’m not familiar with Pageflakes, but Netvibes is my daily news distiller. Can’t say that for facebook.

    Netvibes isn’t social networking for me, it’s info-consuming . Facebook isn’t news to me, ain’t social networking either since Netherlands hasn’t really discovered it yet. Dutchmen on Facebook are <20 K, really small compared to http://www.hyves.nl which has about 2.5 million (f)lying Dutchmen.

    For the time being, Netvibes has my vote. Yet neither of these is gonna be the killer app. Both lack too much core functionality (for now) to really shake the web.

    VeeJay

  32. Robert,

    I’m not familiar with Pageflakes, but Netvibes is my daily news distiller. Can’t say that for facebook.

    Netvibes isn’t social networking for me, it’s info-consuming . Facebook isn’t news to me, ain’t social networking either since Netherlands hasn’t really discovered it yet. Dutchmen on Facebook are <20 K, really small compared to http://www.hyves.nl which has about 2.5 million (f)lying Dutchmen.

    For the time being, Netvibes has my vote. Yet neither of these is gonna be the killer app. Both lack too much core functionality (for now) to really shake the web.

    VeeJay

  33. I agree with Robert. As you add more widgets and applications to Facebook, you can see it slowly evolve into a My Yahoo/Page Flake/Netvibes type of environment. But a much richer environment because the modules have knowledge of who my friends are, what they do, what content they produce, what content they filter. Given all that context, it is not too risky to speculate that the future applications/modules in Facebook have the potential to be much more interesting.

    Netvibes and Pageflakes need to find a way to get there users to build social graphs…not a trivial challenge to overcome.

  34. I agree with Robert. As you add more widgets and applications to Facebook, you can see it slowly evolve into a My Yahoo/Page Flake/Netvibes type of environment. But a much richer environment because the modules have knowledge of who my friends are, what they do, what content they produce, what content they filter. Given all that context, it is not too risky to speculate that the future applications/modules in Facebook have the potential to be much more interesting.

    Netvibes and Pageflakes need to find a way to get there users to build social graphs…not a trivial challenge to overcome.

  35. Shelley: >Wow. I can’t think of statements that are more likely to push away a more discriminating audience than statements like that.

    I don’t get where you come from sometimes. It’s just a fact that my Facebook profile has gadgets from Upcoming’s calendar, Google News, Flickr photos, Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce, and many other places. The author seemed to think that Facebook is only about contacts. It’s not. So me stating what I’ve learned and how the author could learn some more (visit my profile, I’ve done a lot of the work for you) makes me “brittle?” Wow.

    Over on http://www.scobleshow.com I just uploaded a video about Plazes, which shows that I am looking for lots of different viewpoints. Friday I had IBM. I regularly bring my viewers 80 new viewpoints a day through my link blog.

    If I’m brittle it’s because you just aren’t doing your homework when it comes to me.

  36. Shelley: >Wow. I can’t think of statements that are more likely to push away a more discriminating audience than statements like that.

    I don’t get where you come from sometimes. It’s just a fact that my Facebook profile has gadgets from Upcoming’s calendar, Google News, Flickr photos, Twitter, Jaiku, Pownce, and many other places. The author seemed to think that Facebook is only about contacts. It’s not. So me stating what I’ve learned and how the author could learn some more (visit my profile, I’ve done a lot of the work for you) makes me “brittle?” Wow.

    Over on http://www.scobleshow.com I just uploaded a video about Plazes, which shows that I am looking for lots of different viewpoints. Friday I had IBM. I regularly bring my viewers 80 new viewpoints a day through my link blog.

    If I’m brittle it’s because you just aren’t doing your homework when it comes to me.

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