Disclosure: The company Iâ€™m writing about below is a paid sponsor of rev2.org. My sponsors are quite important, but my readers even more so. As a result, Iâ€™ve tried to remain as unbiased as I can with my views on the company and its product.
Coming from the makers of desktop-based widget app Goowy, is yourminis, which is set to launch on November 6th. Yourminis is the latest entry to the web-based widget desktop space currently lead by Netvibes, Pageflakes, and Protopage. Unlike its competitors which are all AJAX-based, yourminis is built on Flash and has its own share of advantages all together.
yourminis allows, like its every other competitor, for you to essentially have your own desktop on the web with all sorts of funky things, wrapped with a interface that you can customize to your liking and call it your own.
There are four kind of widgets you can add to your page in yourminis: minis — which are mashups of the most prominent Web 2.0 products and handy tools like calculators and calendars — podcasts, vidcasts, and blogs. As with the other tools, you can create as many tabs as you like, and you can also publish and share it. Here’s one I created with my favorite podcasts, vidcasts, and just for loyal readers, blog (yes, yours truly).
Where yourminis differentiates a bit from the typical web-based widget desktop is in a few aspects. First, it offers the ability to go into heads up-display mode. Currently, this has two users: the integrated badge users can put on their webpages or blogs (i.e. the one on this page — click on “View yourminis”), and a Firefox extension which users will be able to install and have one-click access to their minis with. The extension is set to release anytime soon and I had the pleasure of trying it in its early stages. I have to say, it’s extremely convenient, slick and adds another dimension to this space — something other services lack.
The thing about great products, platforms and tools is that their limitation is only dependant the user’s imagination, and nothing else has an input. This can be seen with yourminis. Not only does it allow users to integrate rich media like videos from YouTube and AOL, pictures from Flickr, and music through its internal MP3 Player widget, there’s something cool you can do with them: create collages. For examples of what users have come up with so far, check out the collages on Coldplay, 50 Cent, and Dallas Mavericks. This is some truly awesome stuff. While not for personal use (i.e. to set as a startpage), socially, this could prove to do what MySpace did once again. Every band, movie, artist, baseball team, and such could have their own minis showcasing themselves. Other areas this could be used in is as a portfolio for photographers, fan creations, personal ‘that’s gotta hurt’ video collections, and simply to share those family vacation pictures. Added the advantage of have an integrated badge which can go into heads-up display mode upon being clicked on, the possibilities here are endless and most importantly, purely dependant on the creator.
The market that yourminis is looking to tap has proven to be extremely competitive and tough. When one of the players gets a version 2 revamp, the other’s already on version 3 while the other other is set to release version 4. Needless to say, they’re all excellent products and keep topping each other at every step. So, for a new product to enter this space and make something for itself proves to get harder and harder. Does yourminis have a chance? In the personal widget space, perhaps, possibly, but where I can really see it taking off is in those user-generated collages and montages. What it’s really doing is taking the idea of every band and film-maker having a MySpace page and users creating and posting montages of their favorite tennis players, actors, and role models on YouTube, a step further. As we’ve seen in the past, this is the kind of stuff that appeals to teenagers and the MySpace generation alike. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear more of yourminis in the future.
[tags]Web-based Startpages, Goowy, Yourminis, Widgets[/tags]