Desicritics had a glowing review of bharat1.com. I don’t have anything specifically against it, but I think the review is a bit biased. So to play the devil’s advocate, let me point out why this so-called “preimer news aggregator” is not as great.
There are many ways a website can distinguish itself — user experience, content, functionality, presentation etc. I don’t think bharat1 excels in any of these areas. Really, the only think bharat1.com has done is pre-select a bunch of feeds. I don’t know why that is good, unless they have demonstrated that their feed selection is really great.
No new functionality: The author himself points out, Netvibes has similar features. Thats actually incorrect. Netvibes is a lot more than just a news aggregator — they are essentially trying to build a web based desktop replacement. In some senses Netvibes is a portal. And Netvibes is not alone — there are several others (Google IG, Goowy, Nowsy, Pageflakes etc etc).
In particular, all of these already let users move around content — so thats nothing new. They also offer a whole bunch of news feeds, and let users add their own news feeds — so thats nothing new either. Pre-selecting some news feeds is not that great — anyone can put up their OPML file to share and thats it.
What about “tags”? Thats not new either. Gregarius has tags. Technorati always had tags. Since you can get feeds for tags from Technorati and a whole bunch of other places, its not that great a deal. I think Google News does a much better job of “clustering” news — I wouldn’t rely on tags to represent “News Topics”.
Not only this, Netvibes et al. are more like platforms. They have open APIs, that let people build on top of the framework. They use community to build up traction. In its present form, bharat1.com is a one way road — there is absolutely no community involvement. They don’t even talk about how they discover tags, or a list of news sources they track.
Remembering the positions of the blocks? Are you kidding me?! That is so not new, or impressive in any which way. People have been stuffing things into cookies for the past decade or so. And that is the “most important part of the site”?
How does the ability to add my own blog to the site make it unique? If you can add any feed (as with Netvibes and friends), your blog is just another feed. I’m sorry, I don’t see the distinction. On the other hand, bharat1.com is probably the only aggregator which doesn’t offer its own news feed. What good is an aggregator if I can’t puts its RSS feed somewhere else?
What they call a “News Map” is better known as a [[wp>Tag_cloud]]. And if you find that impressive, check out News.com‘s hot news interface. As for the “minimalist” interface, nothing beats Google IG.
Finally, the site is not “ready”. There is no proper “About Us” page. The Policy page is linked to the “Contact” Page.
Like I said earlier, I have nothing against bharat1.com. I just felt that the author of the review had not done his homework. Perhaps bharat1.com will become all that and more, but in its current state, I think the review does more harm to it than good. All that glorification (“employs a unique combination of technology and creativity and brings to you the best of the web in a nice little package.”) just builds up false expectations, and in this fast moving market, don’t expect disappointed visitors to come back.