What’s the difference between a Portal and an Aggreagtor? not much really

Portals are Dead. Portals are Dead. = the mantra of Web 2.0, content is distributed, open, and amorphous.

The Web Portal, which gained fame in the late 1990s was a web application that was intended to keep eyeballs on one page by providing all the information in a dashboard type style at once. From 2000-2003 I was the UI designer on the MyExodus customer portal, it was a lot of fun.

An Aggregator, like a feedreader, techmeme, page flakes, netvibes, and myyahoo (and now facebook) is designed to collect all the information you want on to one page. If you think about it for a moment, Google search results is actually an aggregator too.

So what’s the difference between a Portal and an Aggreagtor? Not much, if you ask me. So if portals are dead, then are aggregators too? While sure, the resources required to create the modern portal/aggregator or low, the strategy is the same: bring all the resources to one page.

Conclusion: Portals aren’t dead, we’ve just renamed ’em.

  • This is rather interesting. However, I think its a matter of what the portal will be used for. For customers, a portal is much more valuable than just an aggregator.

    Portals don’t just aggregate content, but they provide a platform of resources and content that the customer can use. In most cases, a portal is organized and provides resources (links) that benefit the user. Instead of just a list of links, a portal provides only relevent links.

    To me, there’s a difference, because I’d like to think of a portal as a value add resource instead of just a page with a bunch of content and links.

  • Sorry for another comment, but I think a portal is put together with purpose, while an aggregator just collects information.

  • The purpose of an aggreagtor is to provide relevant information, as is a portal!

    To add to your point, a portal may include widgets or gadgets that actually have applications.

  • demeter

    The difference between a portal and an aggregator is control. Whereas the information on a portal is put together by somebody other than the consumer of the page, the information on an aggregator is, more often than not, put together by the person consuming the page.

  • demeter

    This is what my friend at Google said today at Google Developer day.

    Some portals (like the ones we created) let users change out content or add their own ‘portlets’.

    If that’s true, then there still is little difference.

  • Great blog you have here, but I have to quibble a little bit with your calling an aggregator a portal! An aggregator is a tool that can be used by someone with some domain expertise to create a portal, but it is no more a portal than a hammer is a house.

  • Thanks Dan, I see your points.