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Searching Dashboard Style

A couple of weeks ago Netvibes announced a new “dashboard engine” to get real-time updates, single-screen style. If you liked Mashpedia you’ll like this. To try it go to http://www.netvibes.com/en and click “Get Started”. You’ll get a page asking you to enter a keyword and then specify whether you’re searching for News, an Artist, or a Brand. I choose a “News” search for Goldman Sachs. The first thing Netvibes did was give me a series of photographs to choose a theme from. Then after I chose one I got my dashboard.

I was a little taken aback by this screen when I saw it; the initial user interface is so slick and the actual dashboard is kind of — boxy. But who cares! Plenty of consolidated data is here and so what if the presenting modules don’t have rounded corners? The default tab is for news and shows results from Flickr, Google News, Yahoo, and Google Blog Search. Each of the modules are customizable; you can change the number of items that show from a source, change the color, remove it entirely, etc. You can also edit the layout of the entire tab. (If you don’t like a widget view there’s also a “reader” view that makes the dashboard look more like a traditional RSS feed reader.)

Yes, this is only one tab of data! There are others; one for general information — more like a personalized portal than anything else — and three devoted to your actual search. There’s one for videos, one for general chatter (on social networks and elsewhere) and one for your search across several different Google properties. If that isn’t enough for you there’s a tab across the top of the page that’ll let you add more content modules, from news to travel. If you can’t make up your mind there’s also a list of essential widgets where you can start.

You don’t need to be logged in to play with Netvibes dashboard, but if you get a (free) account you get more functionality, like the ability to share your dashboards.

I was really impressed with this. There tabs and the widget options mean you can pack a lot of data flows into one screen. The only thing I saw that you’ll have to watch is that the modules don’t update automatically that I could see, so you’ll have to periodically refresh the page. This is an excellent companion to Mashpedia or Cpedia if you’re using that.

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