New Jersey-based startup PeopleString has announced the Beta release of its new Social Portal, which allows users to organize favorite web sites or small sections of their favourite sites as tabs, bookmarks or “InstaPortal” previews. In what could be termed browser tabbing within a browser, the patent pending “IntaPortal” technology means users can take snippets or entire websites and integrate them into a Netvibes-like homepage where users can quickly preview and organize these into web page slices. PeopleString calls it a Social Portal that’s meant to create social relationships through aggregation of social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter.
Using the website is as simple as dragging and dropping icons on a desktop. Users create their accounts (which at this point provides no option for using Twitter or Facebook Connect unfortunately), and login to the dashboard. A short tutorial explains how to add Favorite widgets and crop out snippets that you then place anywhere on your dashboard, which gets refreshed every 5 minutes. Once your widgets have been added you can move them around, rearrange their size or organize them into one or two columns (possibly even three, but ads currently take that space). If you want to expand the widget and view the full size page, you don’t have to load a new browser window. Instead PeopleString creates a tab within a tab so you can view the entire page in its own tab within your dashboard.
The tab within a tab feature comes quite in handy, letting you organize Tabs into categories such as Sports, Entertainment and Tech News, so I can organize my favorite sites into sub-tabs and flip between them quickly. As someone who is constantly opening new tabs I tend to get disorganized with too many tabs open at once, so this is a very welcomed feature. It does have its drawbacks. Because the service is currently free, its ad supported with gigantic banners that takeover a quarter of the dashboard which could have otherwise be used for other widgets, which hints at a future premium version of the site. “InstaPortals” I discovered, are just mini-snapshots of your favorite website that refreshes. It’s not actually a live website that is clickable. If you want to view articles on a news website, you have to view it in a new tab within the dashboard.
The good news is those drawbacks are not deal breakers. The company is also paying a lot of attention to rewarding users for help bringing in traffic to the site. PeopleSpring wants users to not only use the portal as their homepage, but they also want to see them benefit financially as well. The company pays out 50 cents per person referred, and when those friends refer additional users, you stand to collect 10% of what your friends earns on the site for life. “We see the opportunity for leveraging existing social relationships into a social group selling platform as one of the most exciting applications of the PeopleString technology.Â A single consumer does not have much clout, but by harnessing their social relationships you are creating a potentially powerful force that reshape traditional methods of marketing.” says Darin Myman, President and CEO.