Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Personal Portalization - More Work Needed!

My last post talked alot about the virtues of the Google Customized Homepage. I run a variety of widgets that import the information that is important to me to one information dashboard. Previously, I mentioned the weaknesses in the task list functionality. Well I found a much better solution for those of you that are out there looking for a solution.
Remember the Milk (www.rememberthemilk.com) started as what you an imagine - a web based grocery list. Well the service has grown up. It now has functionality to completely integrate with Google Calendar and imports directly to the customized homepage. The functionality it provides in separating the work, personal, etc. tasks is huge for me. Lists can be published, shared and subscribed to through RSS. Task clouds (like tag clouds in del.icio.us) help visualize the categories which have the most outstanding or high importance things to do.
Best of all: The service is FREE. I would highly recommend this service. I have found it very effective for my needs. Check out the new configuration below.

Currently I am running a customized Google Homepage with "widgets" (third party developed applets) that display weather, stocks, Google Calendar entries for Sophy and I, virtual Post-It notes, daily quote, weight tracking (I am on a diet) and task lists.

I use Google for a few reasons:
1. I know they won't be out of business tomorrow.
2. Gmail, Google Talk and Calendar all interact well with each other.
3. Gmail offers me nearly limitless space on their servers to save my mail.
4. Google offers a variety of widgets that get me the most relevant/pertinent information in front of my face ASAP.
5. None of the Google web properties are blocked by my company which allows me to have the most up to date information across any computer with a web connection.
Task lists:
For me, task lists are critical. My daily actions and schedule are driven off the priorities of my task list. Being able to tie specific tasks to my Google Calendar would be a godsend. I would then be able to have a daily meetings agenda with tasks related to that specific day. Everything (tasks, email, calendaring) would be unified on the web. Good task lists which I have tried for the trial period are offered by Gootodo and Ta-da Lists by 37signals. Unfortunately I will never switch to either of these until I can integrate it with my information dashboard. It is ashamed since I really enjoyed Ta-da Lists!
Brad Feld of A VC talks about the deportalization of the internet. I think that the portal needs to become more integrated and personalized. If personal information (email, contacts, etc.) is the main driver for someone to visit a web property like Google's Gmail, Calendar, etc. The case could be made that sucg offerings would be jumping off point into the rabbit hole that is the internet and hence a wider audience with more stickiness (like crazy glue).