Niall Kennedy offers an overview on personalized home pages, which have always been a leading indicator of how deeply engaged users become with portals. It speaks to the "stickiness factor." Over the last ten years, My Yahoo has led the charge but few others have garnered much traction. Most users don't attempt to create a personalized experience or customize settings, even within corporate portals. Niall sees personalized pages drawing on more user input and clickstream analysis to generate pages that have more relevant .
I believe personal customized homepage services will continue to be successful as they move from a page full of populist content such as top news stories and gossip to personalized pages combining direct user input and observed behaviors. Customized personal homepages can achieve a quick middle-ground through cobrands deploying module bundles for their users quickly and easily, allowing the "long tail" of affinity groups and businesses to turn on their own custom solutions simply and in partnership with established web brands.
I don't disagree with Niall that end user customization will become less onerous to manage, with more options and automated recommendations, but it won't replace bookmarks and surfing anytime soon. It may be far easier today to make your own custom personalized portal, but it will take a new generation of users and software to shift the balance.