Monday, December 19, 2005

The Whole Web at Your Fingertips: Introducing Pageflakes.

I’m exceedingly happy to announce Pageflakes, my new startup.

Pageflakes will start as a personalized startpage (a.k.a. AJAX desktop) that allows you to read blogs and other RSS/Atom feeds, check your email, get the latest sports news and stock quotes, start Web searches and use services like or Flickr, all conveniently accessible from any PC and from one page. I’m sure there are at least 5-10 sites that you check every single day, in fact probably several times a day. Pageflakes saves you some of this effort by aggregating the content that’s relevant for you into one nice page. A bit like an RSS aggregator, only that it’s not limited to RSS feeds.

But that’s only the beginning. Over time, we want Pageflakes to evolve into THE entry point to your digital life, allowing you to do everything from managing to-do lists to watching Internet TV to checking your voice mailbox and much more. A suitable name for that might be Digital Life Aggregator (similar to the term “Digital Lifestyle Aggregator”, which AFAIK was coined by Marc Canter) or Next Generation Internet Services Platform (a term recently used by Microsoft’s Ray Ozzie when talking about Microsoft’s new initiative).

If that sounds familiar to you, the idea of a personalized startpage has been around for years. Excite and Yahoo tried it several years ago, but we think it takes new technologies and approaches like AJAX, RSS and APIs and other Web 2.0 ideas for this concept to really take-off. Thanks to AJAX you’ll get a desktop-like experience. Thanks to widespread content syndication you’ll be able to add an incredible variety of content and services to your personal page. To make the Web 2.0 buzzword compliance, we also address The Long Tail of software by allowing developers to contribute their applications to Pageflakes.

We just launched our “Developer Release”, so right now we’re not even in alpha yet. However, if you go to our site you can already see some prototype modules (“flakes”) and enjoy some AJAX Drag & Drop goodness.

When you look at the site, please don't forget that we’re pre-alpha. 99% of the functionality is still missing, the design implementation is not perfect yet and there are still some glitches. Basically we're at a point where others put up a teaser page. Once we target the general public, we will also support Firefox, of course.

Finally, if there’s anything that I’m more excited about than the idea itself, it’s our team. It includes someone who co-founded (which was acquired by eBay) and an exceptional team of oustanding software engineers from Bangladesh. I think this posting is too long already, so I’ll talk some more about my partners on a later occasion.

Now have a look at Pageflakes, subscribe to the launch notification and let me know what you think!

P.S.: “Are you kidding me? Do you really want to compete with mighty Microsoft and Google?” Well, in a way we will. In the beginning, Pageflakes, and Google’s Personalized Homepage will look pretty similar. But over time, we expect the three to develop into somewhat different directions. We’ve got a hell of a lot of cool ideas on how we’re going to improve and extend Pageflakes in the future (and I’m sure so do the other teams – but we probably don’t have the same plans). In addition, our advantage as a small startup is that we’re quick, that we can flexibly react to the needs of our users and that we’re totally focused on what we’re doing. Finally, we’re not saying that we will drive or Google/IG out of business. There’s space for more than one player in this emerging market, and we’re satisfied if we get a sizeable chunk of it.

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