There's No Place Like Home Page: 8 iGoogle Alternatives
Use iGoogle? Upset that it's going away? Here are 8 alternative Web portals, some of which are just as good -- and one or two of which are better.
Thu, October 31, 2013
Computerworld — Goodbye, iGoogle. As of November 1, Google's Web portal ceases to exist, leaving untold legions of users with no place to call home page. For anyone accustomed to being greeted by personalized news, RSS feeds, Twitter updates and other quick-scan info, this could be a jarring day.
Google's decision raises an interesting question: Do you really need a traditional home page anymore? Many users are content to start with a Bing or Google search page, or use their browser's "frequently visited" thumbnails as a jumping-off point. And business users are often pushed directly to their company's home page or another work-related site. Maybe the portal's day is done.
Still, old habits die hard and many users may find Web portals too useful to give up. And just because Google no longer offers a customized start screen doesn't mean you can't have one. There are plenty of alternatives -- some that almost perfectly recreate the iGoogle experience and others that offer a wholly different take on the personalized portal.
Here are eight free Web portals that you might want to consider for your new browser home.
If you don't want to spend a lot of time adapting to a new layout, igHome offers a personalized home page that's almost an exact replica of early iGoogle.
For starters, it perfectly recreates the portal's upper toolbar, providing handy one-click access to Gmail, Google Calendar, Docs, YouTube and other services. Of course, there's a prominently displayed Google search bar as well.
But it's in the meat of the page that igHome really resembles its predecessor. By default, its grid-like collection of information windows, or widgets, gives you news, weather, ESPN and other basics, but you can customize that with hundreds of sources across dozens of categories: shopping, politics, gaming, health and even comics. For news junkies, igHome offers headline widgets from cities and countries around the world.
Indeed, the big appeal here, as with iGoogle, is the ability to create a customized layout of RSS feeds and information widgets by dragging and dropping windows. The site supports tabs, so you can create separate pages of work-related news, RSS feeds, social media, fun stuff or whatever. And if you export your settings from iGoogle today, before the Nov. 1 cutoff, igHome can import them to expedite your setup.
It also offers plenty of interface tweaks, including your choice of themed wallpapers. These are worth inspection, as the site looks fairly drab without one. In fact, at first blush it's downright blah. But with a little work, you can closely recreate what you left behind at iGoogle.