There’s an interesting couple of posts in Hooman Radfar’s Widgify blog about how some of the assumptions behind the original generation of portals (it’s hard to create and aggregate web content, users aren’t familiar with the web, etc) may no longer be valid. New technologies such as AJAX, microformats, and Web Services make more dynamic environments possible.
So via convergent evolution, everyone seems to be driving towards a similar information architecture that supports users:
1. Aggregating data and web services
2. Keeping some of this junk private
3. Sharing with the ‘right’ people across networks and devices
4. Oh yea, and making it collaborative at every step (social networks!)
I call this information architecture the Social Aggregator. If the value proposition for the portal was, “we aggregate content for you to consume,” the value proposition for the Social Aggregator is, “we give YOU tools to aggregate, create, and share content.” My buddy Marc Canter calls this concept the DLA, or Digital Lifestyle Aggregator.
Regardless of what you call it, it is a pretty damn powerful concept. And, it is here to stay.
Both of these are worth a quick read: