NetVibes, the startup that lets you assemble all your favorite widgets, feeds, social networks, email, videos and blogs onto a customizable homepage, is rolling out a new feature today that lets users create personalized widget-based web pages. NetVibes’s tool, called Theme Publishing, is a visual design editor that lets users personalize and edit every part of their page’s’ theme, from images to background.
The layout of the editing tool is fairly simple. Users “click and pick” on the page:, meaning they click which part they want to edit and pick options from a color palette and design option menus. NetVibes offers a directory of themes or you can create your own theme. You can also publish your theme to the gallery for other NetVibes members to use. Every change is shown live in a preview pane, making it easy to see how a particular design will look. Plus, users can add widgets, feeds, social networks and more to their pages. The bonus: it’s all free.
While the new feature is sure to attract users, it is also likely to attract the attention of brands. NetVibes says that ad agencies, including Ogilvy and Razorfish, are already using NetVibes’ theme design tool to create interactive, uber-personalized microsites for clients that are branded and contain customized widgets for social networks and feeds. NetVibes is also offering a new XML-based Theme API, which will enable web designers to create animated themes on their pages.
The startup recently launched “drag and follow” widgets for Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, making it easy to create custom widgets around followers or feeds. Although NetVibes was a pioneer in personalized widget homepages, it has since been overshadowed by iGoogle. At TechCrunch’s Real Time Stream CrunchUp in July, Netvibes previewed a new live feed reader and instant update architecture to make RSS real-time, which will be officially