Indiatimes gets personal with myIndiatimes. Or is it me-too-Indiatimes?

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Indiatimes, on the eve of India’s 60th Independence day has launched myIndiatimes, a personalization service that enables users to personalize their home page (by content of their choice, be it their indiatimes emails/feeds from other news sources/blogs etc) – quite similar to myYahoo/iGoogle.

How does myIndiatimes work?
Login to myIndiatimes (using your indiatimes id) and start playing with the content ‘boxes’. You can add/remove content of your choice, drag/drop boxes and personalize the page as you want it.

How much of personalization is possible?
As of now, its fairly minimum. There aren’t any choice of themes/colors/ways to add custom feeds. But hey, they are in beta.

What’s cool about myIndiatimes?
It’s the first personalization service from any of the Indian Internet giant. More than that, it’s a real damn neat AJAXified application; and a far cry from the usual buggy products Indian netizens are exposed to. That too with no intusive ads (I am very surprised!).

myindiatimes

What’s uncool about myIndiatimes?
It’s purely a me-too service. It’s just a copy of MyYahoo, and iGoogle. As of now, there is nothing that makes myIndiatimes stands out against these services.

Most of the features (like adding a tab, show feed content on hover, drag/drop boxes) are purely a copy/paste (from Y!/Google/Netvibes) and looks like this is more of a PoC (proof of concept) for Indiatimes rather than “serious business”.

I am wondering why Indiatimes had to roll out a me-too/catch-up product? That too without any differentiator?

Personalization – we all know it’s a great business to be in. MyYahoo leads all the way and has a user base of 50 million (MSN at 11.9 mn and iGoogle at 7.1 million) – it’s one of the stickiest stuff that can closely bind the user to the service.

Having said that, myIndiatimes still has a good chance of gaining a good user base.
What can work for myIndiatimes is that many of Indian netizens aren’t exposed to personalization service from Y! and Google and a pre-populated service (with Indian content/stories) stands a very good chance of consumption, compared to the generic content from Y!/Google (even though Google has India specific personalized service).

Moreover, Indiatimes has to build more of such services as they are losing market share to Yahoo! and Google :: Y! leads the email usage in India (53%) and has the highest brand recall (26.6%). Indiatimes is lagging behind big time with just 1% user recall and 0.90 % usage (read the detailed report here)

Also, a service like this can potentially increase the usage of Indiatimes id (just like you have Y! id, Google account) – which means more upselling of other products.

Also, very recently Indiatimes mail was launched with unlimited storage space – looks like they are utilizing their money in smart ways (unlike ibibo).

Give myIndiatimes a spin and do share your comments. I’d love to hear from you whether you will use the product or not.
As far as I am concerned, I’d still go with Netvibes. I also enjoy playing with schmedley. What about you?

tags: myindiatimes, , schmedle

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