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Following a $40m funding round, Claria, previously known as Gator and notorious peddlers of adware, have launched a new product called PersonalWeb, which is an automatic personalised desktop (the user has to install a plug-in), which monitors your browsing habits and creates a desktop which contains links to your favourite stuff. It’ll be a competitor to the toolbars and personalised desktops of Google, MSN, Yahoo! and the like.

Looks like Claria is planning to use the intelligence to insert ‘subtle’ ads into the personalised desktop environment. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were also planning to make money off aggregating the information about browsing habits of all their users and selling it on to third parties. Old habits die hard, after all.

However, Claria claim to be getting out of the adware business. They almost IPO’d on the back of their previous business model – reporting $117m in revenues for 2004 – but they’ve annnounced (on their current homepage) that by June 30th 2006, they’ll be out of the business altogether. That’s some U-turn.

There’s an interesting Businessweek article about the launch.