Read/WriteWeb has a great write-up on “Business Models For Start Pages”. It’s definitely a good read for those of you interested in the various companies and the business around it. In particular we like the following paragraph regarding “The Widgetizing of the Web”.
So widgets/gadgets are ramping up to be a key part of the Web platform going forward, which all the start pages (big and small) are ideally placed to leverage. And the smaller start pages have certainly not shied away from building up their platforms. Pageflakes now has 100 “flakes” (i.e. widgets) and recently introduced more customization options. Likewise, Netvibes is putting in a lot of work on their module ecosystem. – Read/WriteWeb
The article puts the start page products and services in very good light and with a decent future ahead. Time will tell…
For those of you less concerned about the business and more interested in start pages as a user, you should give the post and its comments a quick read for links to various products and services. Give them a spin, you might find one that you like.
Don’t forget that we have a widget for managing and staying in contact with your Stickam friends. The widget is currently in preview mode and has been tested to work with Pageflakes, Netvibes and other services.
Read that Netvibes hit 5 million users so we decided to go check them out. Netvibes is another web based start page much like Pageflakes. It also includes a Web Page Module which we were able to use with our Contacts widget.
The Stickam Contacts Widget seems to be working well and if the trend of Web Page modules/flakes continues, we will most likely continue with our current approach. By developing only one version of the widget, we will be able to better control and manage the service. We do not have the resources to develop and maintain separate widgets for each of these services. While site specific widgets would have more interesting features, we believe that this approach is still the best at this time.
We are announcing the functional preview for the Stickam Contacts widget. This is a preview so its features are limited. Please read and understand this entire post before trying and using the preview. Use at your own risk, security and stability were not a priority or focus for this release. The preview is subject to bugs and changes. However, we will try to make announcements with as much lead time as possible and limit changes during the initial preview period.
The intent is to preview the current design and obtain feedback from users. Future features and development will be determined partly from the response we receive.
- hosted standalone widget – can be used anywhere a web page can be included
- simple registration
- attempt login
- if already registered then validate login
- if not registered then create registration
- add contact – Stickam “Profile Names”
- enter “Alias” for display (optional)
- status icons (live, chat room, online, offline)
- delete contact
- opens Stickam Player, Chat Room or Profile as appropriate
- auto updates every 5 seconds – no need to refresh page
Limitations and Disclaimers:
- preview status – subject to bugs and changes
- completely cookies based – for ease of prototyping
- data is only accessible from the computer that registered and created the list
- cookies are set to expire after 30 days
- expire date is reset at last refresh of contacts list
- if you delete your cookies, all data will be lost
- basic encryption and security – do not rely on this
- system is not optimized
- there may be race conditions
Basic Usage Example – Pageflakes:
- go to Pageflakes
- click on “Add Flake” (top left)
- select “Web Page” from list
- click “Go” (this should load the login page)
- uncheck “Show toolbar”
- check “Store as Home Page for Flake”
- click “Save”
- click “Add flake to page”
- configure as normal
Basic Usage Example – Bubbles:
- open Bubbles Settings
- click “Add”
- configure as normal
- Note 1: new windows do not pop up with the Bubbles Gecko Rendering Engine, but the contact list still functions and updates as normal
- Note 2: this makes Stickam function more like an Instant Messenger video chat client
- start pages
- basically anywhere you can add a web page for viewing or iframe is allowed
- or… open a browser and go to
We have completed the Stickam Contacts prototype widget and service. The prototype demonstrates some of the capabilities and features that are planned for the product. Once we clean up and organize the code, we will release a functional demo in the next couple of days. At release, the demo will be a standalone contacts list where you can add/remove Stickam users. The status of each Stickam user is updated without the need for a page refresh. Clicking on the associated status icons will launch the user’s Stickam player for video chat, the chat room that the user is in or the user’s profile page. You can also view a user’s profile by clicking on their name.
This is a prototype demo and intended for gathering user feedback so we have not designed the widget for any specific start page site or system. However, the Contacts widget will work on any site, page or system that allows you to display a web page such as Bubbles, Pageflakes (by setting Stickam Contacts as the Web Page Flake homepage) or iframe enabled page/blog.
Screenshot of Stickam Contacts on Pageflakes:
Contacts in right column using Web Page Flake with a Stickam Player open on top of the Pageflake window.
Screenshot of Stickam Contacts with Bubbles:
Bubbles window open to the Contacts page with a Stickam Player and a Chat Room window underneath.
We are currently working on a Stickam Contacts widget/applet and service that you can use to keep track of your Stickam contacts. It is in the initial stages of development so there isn’t much to disclose at this time, but we are looking into the usual user listing and status functions. The widget is currently being designed for use on personal start pages and/or desktop web applications. Some sprinkling of Ajax will be thrown in for status updates without the need to refresh. If all goes as planned, this will be of interest to people who use Pageflakes, Bubbles and the like.