Panels Experiment

I’m going to try an experiment on all of you.

Don’t worry, it won’t hurt, much.

I’ve just installed Panels, which is a newly launched beta service, on this blog. Panels adds, well, panels to your blog links. From their blog:

With the addition of panels to your site/blog your readers are given all the information about a business or organization that they need before clicking on a link.  Inspired by nutritional panels, our panels are not something that will be looked at every time, but people will be thankful when they look.

Full disclosure: Panels is a Portland startup, and Kevin Fox, a friend of mine, works there. I agreed to give it whirl on this blog. So now, those little panels are out there for you to use or not. The goal here is to let me (and the Panels guys) know what you think. As a startup, they need this type of early feedback.

So, sound off in the comments, or wait a bit, test it out and then sound off in the comments. FYI, the addition of Panels to this blog doesn’t constitute any endorsement of them or their company. All the standard my opinion != my employer’s stuff applies here. I’m just testing out their service.

When you hover over the little red icon to the right of a link, you’ll get content about that link or more precisely about the company or blog behind the link, based on the domain name, e.g. if I add a link about my Reader feed, Panels scrapes content about Google, like so:

Once the panel is open, you can browse information about the company or blog, in this case Google. I think the Panels team has their own aggregated store of information, which doesn’t yet include Oracle, AppsLab or other common (turns out Microsoft is included)  links you might want to know about. Their store of information seems very spare now, but they’re a small startup so it’s a problem of scale for now.

There’s a demo movie on their home page, if you’re interested in learning more.

Installing Panels is easy. Once you register and tailor your desired look and feel a bit, you get a Javascript snippet that goes into your WordPress or Typepad blog with ease. No fuss, no mess.

So, what do you think? If you like Panels, sign up and use it on your own blog. If you don’t, find the comments and let me know why. Productive feedback is encouraged because, like I said, they’re an early stage startup, and now is the time to influence the service.



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