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This article was published on June 5, 2008

Goojet way ahead of Netvibes. But for how long?

Goojet way ahead of Netvibes. But for how long?
Ernst-Jan Pfauth
Story by

Ernst-Jan Pfauth

Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He a Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He also served as The Next Web’s blog’s first blogger and Editor in Chief, back in 2008. At De Correspondent, Ernst-Jan serves as publisher, fostering the expansion of the platform.

One of the 24 start-ups that presented at The Next Web Conference was Paris-based Goojet. Founder Cedric Giorgi told the audience that his service allows you to carry your desktop life with you on your phone. Even if it’s not a smart phone or any other fancy device. Two weeks later, he commented on this blog as only a Frenchman can: “Goojet kind of transforms any phone into an iPhone”.

I wouldn’t want to go that far, and not just because the UI of Goojet isn’t that pretty. Indeed the service offers widgets – named Goojets – which you can easily drag ‘n’ drop. But on the test phone I’ve used, a Nokia 6220, loading a widget takes a while. But maybe that’s not a fair comparison. After all, the 6220 wasn’t developed for such sophisticated usage. And the idea behin Goojet is really good – so good that they won the Le Web 3 start-up competition. And last but not least, the 20-people Goojet team has made some major improvements. The new version launched today.

The developers – based in Toulouse and Paris – have rewritten the goojets from XML to HTML, which improves the compatibility with other web services. So during the last weeks, the goojeters – people creating goojets – were busy making hundreds of services available like:

  • a webcam goojet
  • a goojet to send messages to a Nabaztag
  • a goojet for following the results of the Euro 2008

The design also got a touch-up, yet it still doesn’t look like the next big thing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s easy to use, but it’s not eye-candy like the Netvibes widgets.

Which reminds me of a post by TechCrunch UK’s Mike Butcher. When Netvibes CEO Tariq Krim stepped down on May 29, the company announced to start working on mobile widgets. Mike immediately thought of Goojet, would a heated battle between these Parisian two start-ups start?

I asked Giorgi whether he’s worried about this. He replied: “Goojet is much more than mobile widgets. It’s a solution, based on widgets, to use the mobile web. Secondly, the mobile phone, even if there is some convergence, is a specific media. Goojet has been focusing on mobile use since the beginning. It’s challenge to start on the web and then adapt to mobile. And thirdly, it’s really good to see other actors in the mobile widget market. It means there’s a need, a thing to do, and this shows Goojet is heading in the right direction”.

Although Giorgi has a point when it comes to Netvibes having to adapt to mobile, he secretly might be worried. Netvibes has several million users. If only ten percent of them would give Netvibes’ mobile version a try, the user base of Netvibes would be higher than Goojets in just a few weeks. But hey, in the end, Giorgi and his team shouldn’t worry about that. They should just keep on doing what they’re doing now: improving the service with a lot of passion and commitment.

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