Symbaloo – Before and After

It was just a week ago that I blogged about Symbaloo and webmixes.  I have Symbaloo set as the start page for my computers.  I have tried a number of like utilities in the past and, with the retirement of iGoogle, have found it indispensible as a portal to the places that I want to go.  I absolutely think it’s the best place for me to start.

As I opened my computer this morning to wake it from sleep, I checked my email to read that there was an opportunity to take a preview look at what Symbaloo is going to look like when we all get migrated to the new interface in April.  How could I not take the opportunity.

As I said yes, a new tab opened with a dialogue to let me choose the new interface.  Yes, I said.

At that moment, I had a very unique opportunity.  Since the new layout opened a new tab, I actually had both the old layout and the new layout sitting there in front of me in adjacent tabs.  Does that scream “blog post”?  I just had to take a couple of screen shots and away I go.

Here’s my original Symbaloo layout.  It’s still as good looking and as functional as ever.

Right next door, I have the new layout.  There are a slew of new icons that I’ll probably get around to exploring at some time but my first blush had me looking at the functionality.  There were no immediate changes available in the preferences but the screen presentation was noticeably different.

On the left side, a pull down menu gives access to my webmixes.  I have a modest collection because previously the only way to get to one was to scroll through the names at the top of the screen.  Here heading directly to a webmix looks like it’s going to be very quick.  I can see myself starting to add webmixes and maybe even curate a few more of my own.

Speaking of webmixes, check out the ways that you may now edit a webmix.

Searching for new material is going to be easier now.  You now have more control over just what it is that you’re searching for.  This is going to be nice.

I’m really liking the new presentation.  I think it’s a nice step forward for the product.  However, there’s this nagging feeling after reading the announce and seeing point number five.

5. Symbaloo secrets
There’s more… Did you already discovered something new?

That’s a challenge for a guy like me.  Got to continue to dig.

At this point in time, the iPad version of Symbaloo has not been updated.  However, the web version looks very nice and hopefully there’s an upgrade for mobile shortly.  For educators, this is such a valuable tool to make sure that students all launch and end up in the right place.

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Not standing still

You have to really admire Google.

They’ve come onto the scene and buried my traditional view of what search is all about.  Then, they nicely branch into other offerings.  A lesser company might stop to rest on its laurels.

Not Google.  The company continues to add resources and features.  It’s really not about search; it’s about being your online portal to everything electronic.

The latest (or at least the latest that I’ve seen) is a new look to iGoogle, which can be your personal home page and launch pad to everything that you do online.  I’m really impressed and can’t help but spend more than a few moments exploring.  These enhancements often come unheralded and the more that you look, the more features that are revealed.

Other than the sheer genius for creativity and innovation, I’m always struck by…

  • the immediate usability of the features.  There is no learning curve; things just work.
  • the interface.  There are no fancy graphics or animations to try and make the products something that they’re not.
  • the reliability.  When was the last time that you were presented with a “down for maintenance” page?
  • the ability to build community.  Look at all of the third party developers that provide plug-in gadgets or mashups.

Other services would do well to learn how this is done.

For the new user, where do you start?  Well, there are three things that I think are worth doing.

This is just about search.  But, where else would you start with a search engine by looking at their search features!

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