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Pageflakes adds widgets, features, content partners to Web tool

With its Blizzard release, the number of widgets soars to 240,000

By Heather Havenstein
July 19, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Pageflakes Ltd., a company launched to take on Google and Yahoo in the Web personalization arena, unveiled its Blizzard release today, adding more than 200,000 new widgets, social networking features and new content from various television and print media outlets.

The Blizzard release aims to blend personalization and social media by allowing users to make their personalized page public -- called pagecasting -- and find other users with common personal interests, the company said. Pageflakes, which allows users to create a personalized home page by dragging and dropping widgets called flakes and RSS feeds, also has sharply increased the number of flakes available in the new release from 10,000 to 240,000, said Dan Cohen, CEO of the company.

Among those widgets is a new "anything flake," which allows users to create their own widget by adding custom rich text or photos with a WYSIWYG editor, Cohen said. "Users can make their own widgets. It looks sort of like a miniature version of Microsoft Word. You can put anything you want on your page," he said.

In addition, a new multimedia RSS flake detects and plays in-line rich media such as audio and video inside a flake.

Pageflakes also announced a slew of new partnerships with companies including USA Today, Rolling Stone, CNN, WashingtonPost.com, Newsweek Interactive, Entertainment Tonight, The Insider, Slate, AOL, Die Welt and Bild, whose branded content will be available in Blizzard as part of the 120,000 existing Pageflakes pages, or pagecasts, that users can now access, the company said. A new interface allows users to watch a pagecast and make it part of their own page or copy a pagecast to be edited.

Users can now also access the personal profiles of other pagecast users (with their authorization) to find those with similar interests, Cohen said.

Blizzard also offers new "one-button personalization," aimed at allowing users to more easily customize their pages with widgets and new theming options. Users, for example, can customize every element of a page with colors, images and photos.

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