Business2 is reporting on the latest upgrade to Pageflakes (to go live later today), which will see the personalized start-page service take its first steps towards evolving into a social network based on shared interests.
For the first time, members will be able to establish a public profile and there will be a "People" tab added to the site. Members will be able to subscribe to other people's Pagecasts. In other words, the will be able to subscribe to all the feeds and widgets that person is paying attention to.
A Pagecast is what Pageflakes calls their start-pages (many of which are publicly accessible), and pulls in news feeds, photo feeds, video and other content widgets. One of the neatest features of the new version -- dubbed Blizzard -- is the ability to asign members of your social network permisions so that they can become co-editors of your Pagecast. Functionality which Pageflakes CEO, Dan Cohen, likens to a Wiki of widgets.
It's interesting to see start-pages, which were originally a way for individuals to re-mix the web via drag 'n' drop installable widgets, evolve into a collaborative publishing platform (similar to Webjam) with added social networking functionality. What's also clear is that social networking can be just as effective as a feature rather than an end-game in itself.