I got my invite to Netvibes Ginger on Tuesday, January 22nd. Boy was I excited! I’ve been a netvibes user for over a year and use it all the time. I’ve tried several start-pages including iGoogle, Schmedley, and Goowy. None of them have the features and style of Netvibes. I find Netvibes to be customizable, quick, and has lots of widgets.
So, when I got my invite code to Netvibes’ Ginger release I typed it in as fast as I could and was informed that I would be migrated to Ginger in a few minutes. A day later I was still waiting. Netvibes servers were being beaten quite brutally by so many eager users that they had to shut down for a bit. I was disappointed and worried that Netvibes had gone wrong. That this was going to be a slower, buggier version of the start-page I had grown to love. Thankfully this didn’t turn out to be the case.
On Wednesday evening I went to netvibes and was happy to finally see that i was ready to migrate to Ginger. I had to enter some personal information (I would have been much happier if they didn’t ask that) – name, date of birth, stuff like that. No big deal ( i guess :-\). After that Ginger loaded up and I got started. So here’s the good and the bad and the ugly ( this is a graphics blog after all :-p)
1) It’s still snappy.
2) Very customizable.
3) The new interface for adding rss feeds and widgets is well designed, adding nice visual navigation in the same window and it gets out of the way when you’re done.
4) The look. From a design standpoint there are nice visual things happening in Ginger the New Ginger and Garlic themes are both visually pleasing and help to aide the eye as it moves across the page. Again, the new “add content” interface is visually pleasing with a dark gray background and well organized grids of new content for you to add. As usual netvibes add a small shiny areas of bright color to break up the subtle tones that make up most of the interface. Well done!
5) Universe? I guess Netvibes Universes fits into the “good” category even though I’m not that excited about it. Universe is your public netvibes page. it allows you to post a collection of feeds, stories, and widgets that others can see. It’s an attempt to make Netvibes fully Web 2.0 compliant by adding social networks. For me this is unnecessary. I come to Netvibes to keep up with the news and organize my thoughts – not to meet with friends. Besides, I’m already on Digg, Facebook, and Orkut. Why does Netvibes need to be social? Anyway, this may just be me and as far as I can see it’s not interfering with my regular Netvibes usage. I guess you could just not use it if you didn’t want to.
1) Still a little buggy. There are some glitches while adding and moving widgets. I just added Webnote and it disappeared as soon as it was added it to the page. Tried again and it worked. But i tried to move it and it duplicated the widget. I hope that Netvibes isn’t too distracted working on Universe to fix these problems. Also, I have to mention the long wait before my account was migrated to Ginger again. Excusable but it did take a whole day.
1) Honestly, I must say this is a very nice looking release. Graphically it’s among the best looking web 2.0 sites. Solid design with a few embellishments rather than over the top glitz. Obviously, one could make it as ugly as she or he wanted but that just goes to show how customizable Netvibes is.
While I can still imagine improvements to Netvibes, this release has brought much to Netvibes users and fairly quickly too. If you are a Netvibes user you will enjoy the upgrade.