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'My AOL' Portal Goes to Beta

AOL has released its second beta in as many days with the latest build of My AOL, a personalized home page on the media conglomerate's AOL.com Web portal.

Like the "My Yahoo" and "My Google" personalized pages, "My AOL" provides users with access to information based on their specific needs and interests, including accessing their RSS feeds. However, the My AOL page is differentiating its portal from the competition by offering a slew of video feeds for just about every user's interests.

AOL is on a beta roll. On Tuesday AOL released a beta that lets users access the company's Web search from handsets, smartphones and PDAs.

The latest offering comes one month after AOL began pushing into the portal space with an ad-supported portal model, hoping to snatch revenue from the growing online advertising market. Now, more services are rolling out from the site.

The main "My AOL" page features videos from the day's news, entertainment, sports, and games, for example, as well as its video search features, part of an aggressive push by AOL to leverage its video assets in order to capture portal fans.

As previously reported by internetnews.com, AOL's Video Hub is a central location for finding the 15,000 licensed video assets the Time Warner subsidiary has in its archives. The Video Hub also will lead to AOL's subsidiary Singingfish's index of some 1.5 million video and audio files available on the Web.

In the AOL tradition, the feeds and videos are easy to manage for mainstream users.

"By enabling consumers to create their own personal home page on AOL.com to manage all of their sources of online information in one central location, My AOL provides a convenient solution for a usually time-consuming ritual: visiting multiple Web sites and blogs multiple times each day to catch up on news," Kerry Parkins, Director, Audience Products, AOL, said in a statement.

The technology for the "My AOL" beta is the result of a collaboration with Feedster, an RSS search engine. It helps AOL users search and subscribe to publisher-specific and topic-based feeds. The idea is to help users create virtual information journals on their pages.

Feedster's proprietary technology platform crawls the web continuously fetching updated posts and RSS feeds, according to Scott Rafer, president and CEO of Feedster.

Rafer said AOL's "My Feeds" function is helping to make RSS easier to use and understand for mainstream Internet users. Feedster's searchable index consists of over 11 million RSS feeds and hundreds of millions of XML documents.



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