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My Yahoo now almost as good as Netvibes

Launching tonight: New widgets for My Yahoo, and a superior way to customize your personal page.

Got late word from Yahoo today about the company's new update of My Yahoo, due to roll out at 9:00 PM PDT tonight. As it turns out, I already have access to the features. So this report is based on hands-on access to the new service. We also covered an earlier version of the new My Yahoo back in March.

My Yahoo now has a slick pop-down window for adding new page elements. CNET Networks

There are a few new modules available to My Yahoo users, like improved calendar and bookmarks widgets. The biggest update, though, is a new method to update your personal page, called "inline personalization." Now you don't have to hop to a new page to select a module and add it. Instead, a little window drops down over your page and any changes you make are immediately reflected on your page, still visible underneath. It sure beats going to a separate page, as Google's personal page, iGoogle (news) makes you do whenever you want to add content.

Yahoo's new implementation of home page personalization is quite good. The menu that opens up over your home page is clear and easy to use. But inline personalization is not unique. Both Netvibes and Pageflakes (roundup) let you add content to your personal page without jumping away from where you are. Furthermore, Netvibes and Pageflakes also let you add RSS feeds by entering in just the URL of the site. Yahoo has a good directory of popular blogs that can be added with just a few clicks, but adding feeds not in the list requires that you find the complex URL of the RSS feed itself and paste that in.

I would still recommend the new My Yahoo, especially to nongeeks. It's simple but capable, it's slicker than Google's personal page, and it does most of the stuff that the upstart home page services offer. Personally, though, I am sticking with Netvibes. There's no killer feature in My Yahoo that makes me want to switch back to it (I used it for years until I got hooked on Netvibes), and it's too tedious to add RSS feeds to Yahoo.

Update, 5/17/07: You may have trouble getting to the new features today. Apparently the debut isn't going super-smoothly, and it's not happening all at once. My contact at Yahoo dropped me this note last night after I posted the above evaluation: "The rollout of new features did begin tonight but it will be gradual and complete tomorrow."