Back in 2005, Michael wrote that the user-configured AJAX homepage space was getting crazy crowded, with prominent competitors including Netvibes, PageFlakes, and iGoogle, along with a host of others. Each of these services offer an array of widgets that allow users to tailor their homepages to suit their tastes, but for the most part they do it exactly the same way and do little to differentiate themselves.
Nesting, a new startup that launched this week, is taking a shot in the crowded space by combining the traditional AJAX homepage with a basic social network. To further separate themselves from the rest of the pack, they’re going after one audience: moms.
The site sports a very soothing look that is well suited to its target demographic, with lots of pastels and rounded corners. The widgets themselves are also well designed, presenting an adequate amount of information without becoming overwhelming or cluttered. At launch, the available widgets include weather, news, and a photo-sharing “Memory Manager”, with a calendar on the way in the next month.
Beyond the widgets seen on other homepage services, the site also includes some basic social networking functionality, including support for Friends and Groups. Data from the social network can be drawn into the widgets – for example, your child’s soccer team could create a group, which could then automatically update your calendar wiget with game dates and information. For the time being calendars can only pull data from within Nesting, but the site plans to support importing from iCal and Google Calendar soon.
In terms of customization, Nesting can’t compete with the likes of PageFlakes and iGoogle – there simply aren’t very many widgets available. But many moms may not care if they can’t embed the latest Digg posts or sports scores, provided they have access to more personal content like their child’s soccer schedule. Nesting may fill this role well, but there is no shortage of sites geared towards mothers that it will have to compete with, including Maya’s Mom and CafeMom.