Friday, March 23, 2007

Will web portals die ? - Rise of the Desktop/Widget portals


Here's a quick question : which one of these environments makes you more productive ?


This ..
















Or this ..

















In my opinion, web portals in their current form might not be around for long. They would be replaced by what I would like to call "desktop portals" or "widget portals". Here is why :



  • Superior user experience : There is no reason why the portal experience needs to be limited to the
    confines of a web browser. A more natural place to do personalization and/or aggregation is the user's
    desktop.


  • Enhanced productivity : Desktop applications are much more productive than browser based apps.
    Yahoo has offered a notepad feature for a long. But the only time I actually stopped using Windows Notepad
    for making a quick note, is when I discovered the Yahoo notepad widget.


  • Availability of technology:
    Technology could have been a barrier previously. It isn't any longer. It is becoming increasingly common
    to see web applications behaving like desktop apps (new Yahoo mail anyone?) and vice versa. In a way, desktop apps
    and web apps are all getting mashed up.


  • It has already started happening:


    http://desktop.google.com


    http://widgets.yahoo.com


    http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/dashboard


    http://gallery.live.com/default.aspx?l=1


What do you think ?

3 comments:

Manish said...

Yes, you are right in your comment "web portals in their current form might not be around for long" but I think it will be opposite to what you have mentioned.
The future may "Desktop on the portal aka WebOS" and not a portal on the desktop.

navaneeth said...

Hi Manish,

I did expect this comment. Do you think the world really requires yet another
operating system ? What is the benefit of a WebOS to the end user besides the fact
that it looks and behaves like an OS ? And it is probably just developers who find this
attractive.

Most of us are already hooked to one OS or another - Windows, Mac , Solaris etc
And as long as we require one of those to run a browser, we don't not need
another inside it.

GregZ said...

Agreed. See also Netvibes UWA and W3C Widgets 1.0 spec. This will challenge the relevance of portals built on the existing portlet spec.