When I first saw Koollage, I thought its concept of gathering content you want online and on your iPhone in Pods (Packages-On-Demand) was interesting, but sounded vaguely familiar. Then it hit me - it sounded like Squidoo and its concept of Lenses for content. The other site Koollage reminded me of with its Klubs, Koollage Krew and Kool Factor was MySpace, and its content aggregation properties smacked of a prettier FriendFeed.
The idea behind Koollage is simple. Find content you want to pull together into a Pod, and make that Pod into your personal “podspace.” You can have more than one Pod, which means that Koollage actually has some interesting possibilities as a content aggregator with a different look and feel than something like FriendFeed, and it is already designed for the iPhone in addition to the Web - an improvement over the more vanilla look and feel of FriendFeed for those who find FriendFeed unattractive and difficult to use.
In spite of its similarity to Squidoo (right down to the color scheme and the idea of content widgets), I think the win goes to Koollage for getting to the iPhone first. It won’t be doing much that is different than Squidoo in the online space, but Squidoo has so far lacked a mobile presence, and now will have to catch up to Koollage in the mobile social content sphere.
Koollage has an overall young look and feel, and while the service may not be intentionally marketing their application to the MySpace crowd, that is definitely the vibe I get from it. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing - a young and vibrant look and feel can pull people in to the social content arena that haven’t played in that sandbox before. The ease of adding multi-media to the Pods I think will especially appeal to the glitter-graphic lovers out there.
As with any social application, there is a way to add and track friends on Koollage. This social feature is a must to compete with any of the existing content aggregation sites, Squidoo, FriendFeed or any one of the dozen or so more out there. I like that Koollage has included the ability to socialize but hasn’t made it the focus of their application. The focus of Koollage is the content in the Pods.
Koollage has done something else right as well by offering an easy way to navigate a Pod or series of Pods on the iPhone with the thumb-worthy nav bar. If you are an iPhone user you know that less is more with the touch screen. Koollage lets you move around the Pod using a nav bar like a mini player for the Pod. A very simple concept that will save the mobile user a lot of time.
Koollage has also taken business applications into account. You can have purely fun Pods, or Pods geared toward business, products and making money. Those who use sites like Squidoo as an income stream will love this ability being brought to an iPhone-ready application.
Overall, I don’t see Koollage as having a new application or new idea. Even so, I don’t think that is a bad thing. They have taken our favorite parts of several existing sites and applications (Squidoo, FriendFeed, MySpace), and found a way to merge them into a bright iPhone and iGoogle ready and Web capable application. It isn’t my cup of tea personally, but I think there is a definite market for what they bring to the table.
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