My AOL beta unveiled

America Online has teamed up with RSS engine Feedster to offer customized pages with automatic news updates. Images: My AOL beta gets personal

America Online debuted on Thursday a beta of My AOL personalized Web pages.

My AOL is designed to give people the ability to customize the AOL portal based on specific needs and interests, including the addition of news feeds via Really Simple Syndication, or RSS, the company said.

AOL is working with RSS search engine Feedster for the new service. Feedster has a searchable index of more than 11 million RSS feeds and millions of XML documents, AOL said.

Google this week launched a similar service for Gmail suscribers and other Google account holders to let them create personalized home pages by dragging their favorite content from the Web. Search rival Yahoo has been offering a similar service for some time now.

My AOL personalized pages will feature a "My Feeds" section that lets people select from a preset list of categories, such as national, business or sports news, and receive updated headlines from favorite Web sites. They also can add their own feed-based content and news from selected blogs to the personalized page, the company said.

America Online touts the service as a time-saver and information manager. "My AOL provides a convenient solution for a usually time-consuming ritual: visiting multiple Web sites and blogs multiple times each day to catch up on news," Kerry Parkins, director of audience products at America Online, said in a statement.