AOL unveiled a revamp of its myAOL offering this afternoon in beta — with what they’re calling a ‘personalization suite’ of three products: myPage, a personalized startpage, Mgnet, a content discovery tool, and Favourites, an updated feed reader and bookmark management tool.
The products are offered as separate tabs of their myAOL page (with the ability to add more), and essentially come together to create a personalized homepage experience for the user. The myAOL revamp brings AOL into one of the most competitive markets right now — already with established competitors like Netvibes and Pageflakes. Here’s a brief overview of their products and how it generally stacks up to the competition:
This is the main AJAX-based personalized dashboard which includes customizable content, feeds, widgets, and tools. Also in store is a whole gallery for you to choose from and Google Gadget integration. From what I can tell, their offering is vast, unique, and stacks up very well to the current established players. Essentially, any type of content on the web which has a level of attraction has a module to be integrated, and the Google Gadget integration makes it even better with dynamic addons like a clock and a weather map.
With so much content on the web, it becomes hard to sift through and find the kind that most interests you. Mgnet offers a great visual recommendation and discovery tool to help you find what you’re looking for. You choose from a selection of images the things that you’re most interested in (health, gadgets, Election 2008, etc.) and hit the “next” button, which yields a vast variety of content from the web — from blog posts to news articles. The content is syndicated from Sphere.
Google Reader, in my opinion, brought a new concept and idea to feed reading, and the RSS reader in Favorites goes down the same path with a similar interface and style. The content is represented in a very human readable way with everything from the ability to bookmark individual articles to instantaneous keyboard shortcut which makes sifting through a breeze. Also present in the other tab of Favourites is ‘Bookmarks,’ which keeps track if your bookmarked items in the feed reader and lets you add new ones from what you find.
Overall, the new myAOL is a really good attempt from an old-school company trying to make its comeback, and it doesn’t live short to some of the other options in the market. If there’s anyone to give the credit to, it’s fellow 2.0 blogger Frank Guber who has really done an awesome job bringing everything together as Product Manager. You can read more about it on his blog.