Notify.me, a service that delivers instant notifications on your favorite topics the way you would like to receive them (i.e. by SMS, e-mail, IM, desktop app or on the web), is adding a new feature next week that should make its die-hard users primarily very happy. The rest of the world will probably care much less.
It’s not that Notify.me at its core isn’t useful, albeit not very unique. For a lot of people, instant updates for anything that has an RSS feed (not only blogs or news sites, but also classifieds listings, for example) with the ability to filter incoming by keyword makes sense, particularly if they need a lot of control over how the updates get delivered based on what the source is. Yet I can’t help thinking that the latest feature the startup is releasing, a browser toolbar, has ‘overkill’ written all over.
What the toolbar does is bring Notify.me’s core functionalities to a persistent toolbar whenever you’re browsing the web. Users can set delivery methods and filter rules directly from the toolbar, and the company has also integrated Ping.fm (which it recently partnered with) and AddThis directly to the toolbar so you can easily share and bookmark websites you’re visiting on a wide variety of social networking services.
Personally, I wouldn’t use this service as I would find it incredibly annoying to constantly have a toolbar on my screen that’s not only persistent but also pings me with new notifications every so often. There’s an abundance of new toolbars launching nowadays, and somehow I don’t think that’s what the next web is all about (quite the contrary, actually). I would love to get your thoughts on this as well.