June 25, 2007 |
We have just been informed of a major update one of Profy favorite non-Silicon Valley startups, Ziki, the website that serves two important goals: aggregating all your web content in one place and enhancing your (or your company's) visibility via search engines. We talked about Ziki when they initially launched the English-language version (originally the service was only launched in French) and offered to sponsor your name on major search engines for free. Honestly, I think there are way too many services offering to aggregate your profiles in one convenient place but Ziki is my favorite in the field at least for the nice interface and the search engines help they provide. Actually although I have tested and reviewed several such services, I only use one and it is Ziki. That's why I was actually excited when I was granted the opportunity to give an updated Ziki an early look when it was private.
So what's new? The first thing you will definitely notice is the change of theme from friendly bright green to a more garish orange color. But that's just a matter of taste and anyway I think it won't hurt switching between themes in new versions for users not to get too tired of seeing the same thing every single day. The next novelty is the tabs-based interface of your Ziki. In the previous version all your content was aggregated within only one page called Ziki. Ziki aggregated RSS feeds you wanted to show, your photos and other content. All other Ziki-focused options were only available from the sidebars while now you can easily view everything using the convenient tabs.
You will also see the difference in the way you can read other people's Zikis (and in the way they read yours, as well). In the previous version you only had two options: you could view the titles of posts in the feeds or choose to expand the post if the title sounded interesting. Now there is a small preview of the first paragraph or so of the post on mouseover – it really makes the choice process easier for you to read only pieces you are actually interested in. Similar previews appear for profiles in your favorites and fans so you can easily see some updates about people without even visiting their profiles. Another thing added today is additional customization: you can choose what people see first when visiting your Ziki – your latest photos, blog posts, your bio or the regular syndicated page.
It is also worth mentioning that Ziki has made it possible to share your reading habits with the entire Ziki community. The feature is called Reading list: it allows you to upload OPML file with your favorite blogs to share them with your Ziki friends. I have tried it on my enormously large OPML and as I expected it did not load Ok (as it is too large for almost any online reader except for Google Readerfrom my experience). I am totally sure that this feature will work smoothly on Ziki actual production servers (not on the testing ones). So give it a try yourself.
Other small additions include putting your Twitter profile on your Ziki (sure, there was no Twitter when Ziki was initially launched) and using Ziki for authentication on various OpenID enabled services. It is definitely visible that Ziki is up to date with the most advanced technologies that are becoming popular among internet users now.
And same as before Ziki still offers to sponsor your name on search engines so that people looking for you could immediately see your Ziki which looks exactly what you want it to look featuring the content you are ready to share and linking to all of the locations where you are available online (social networks, blogging communities, photo and video sharing websites, etc.). This way you can make sure that the first thing people will notice when looking for you on search engines is what you want them to see instead of some negative comments on a high page rank website. The only thing I wish Ziki added was further customization of the look and feel of my Ziki (after all, it is my Ziki and I would want to have the freedom to choose not only what it will contain but how it will be presented on the page) – with customization and possibly ability to add some third-party widgets I will be absolutely and perfectly happy with Ziki.