Yourminis released a new version of their site today to focus more on widgets and themed based pages that contain information all relating to a single interest. The new HTML based start page also looks like it's aimed at introducing users to the yourminis experience and allowing them to pick and choose parts of yourminis that they want to explore.
Official "competitors" to yourminis are Netvibes and Pageflakes, but because yourminis is flash-based, it's much easier to incorporate rich media into your startpage than with the others. It also has a very polished look and feel that sets it apart from the two sites above. I actually think it competes more closely with Scrapblog, a site I covered just yesterday. As RIAs move into a more creative space, sites like yourminis and Scrapblog are bound to become more competitive.
The new look yourminis also adds a social aspect to widgets that I haven't seen elsewhere. People can compile and customize widgets then display and share them on the themed pages mentioned above. For instance I can use the RSS widget and have it serve up hockey information or set up the YouTube widget to play hockey-themed videos. Then I can customize my page with those widgets, adding a background and other bits to create a personalized start page that is shareable. The widgets also work independently so that any yourminis widget can be embedded on a blog or MySpace page. The new homepage is set up to reflect this new, more independent approach so that users can easily browse widgets or public pages.
In addition to all this, yourminis is also talking more about how they're using Apollo. They are going to present at Adobe's Engage conference and talk about how they're using Apollo later this month. Right now, they are building out functionality with Apollo that lets you use widgets on the desktop. You can take any one of the widgets and add it to your desktop. It means you can access yourminis content on the web, or the desktop, exactly the kind of hybrid Rich Internet Application that I think adds the most value.
One thing that I think makes yourminis very interesting is that by using Flash, they allow you to embed bits and pieces almost anywhere. You can take an entire themed page and embed it or you can choose to embed a specific widget. The flexibility means that yourminis can cater to a lot of different tastes. Flash gives the users a rich experience that they can make their own. It's an exciting time for RIAs as yourminis helps lead the charge to Apollo and widgets. I think this launch is going to be great, and I can't wait to see what others think of it. Marshall already seems to be impressed.