People love their iGoogle, but Google has announced that it will be killed off the personalised portal on November 1 next year. Why? Well, they are killing it so they can focus “our energy on the products with the biggest potential to make a difference.” Fans are screaming for it to survive, but unless Google managed to change their minds, you have around a year to find an alternative. We have found five that could replace it. You can view them after the jump.
Remember them? This was, back then, considered the darling of personalised homepages winning several awards such as CNET’s Webware 100 and TechCrunch’s Crunchies in 2007. But then, it fell back into obscurity. But if you want to retain your iGoogle experience – with all the feeds, widgets and themes – then you should consider Netvibes.
There are some additional features that sets Netvibes apart from iGoogle like customising the page’s column layout, and a ‘Reader’ mode that makes it more like Google Reader than iGoogle.
It has become more ‘business-orientated’, however it does have a free version to create a personal ‘page’. It also, like iGoogle, has no shortage of applications. There are nearly 150,000 apps for Netvibes, including many for Google’s services like News and Calendar (though, not officially made by them).
Another iGoogle alternative, and another one from France. uStart is similar with iGoogle mainly because of the widgets, tabs and themes. You can also further customise a theme with custom skins (you define the background colours and images, it doesn’t offer any of its own). It also has an RSS Reader, but like Netvibes, these cannot be separated – they have to widgets in a tab page.
It’s design is very rough (Netvibes has a far more better design), and the occasional spelling differences (it managed to use two versions of customise, and spelt useful as “usefull”) but it does the job.
Found this after one person I follow on Twitter mentioned it, and this is pretty much the most customisable ‘personalised homepage’ as you get it. While there are no preset themes, you can customise the colour, the background, the size of the widgets (you can have widgets occupy the entire page). You can customise the columns each tabs have, and you can even make the widgets be in any location on the page with the “Free positioning” layout.
However, it is pretty basic in terms of apps. It, like uStart, can add RSS feeds but doesn’t have much in terms of third-party apps that iGoogle and Netvibes offer. The design is reminiscent of the early days of Web 2.0, but if you require the most basic functions then this will pretty much satisfy.
Alright, we’re going to go a bit different here. Some people would have used iGoogle to keep up to date with the latest news that was happening when they opened their browser. Feedly is a plugin for Firefox, Safari and Chrome that is, basically, a pretty feed reader. It links to Google Reader – which makes it easy for you to transfer the RSS feeds from iGoogle – and does what other web feed readers don’t: it organises it like a magazine. You can switch to a standard feed reader mode, but the magazine-like view does make it easier to see what you should look at. There are many sharing options – email, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr to name a few.
The design, however, is the biggest selling point. It is beautiful, and I highly suggest that if you use iGoogle to simply look up the latest news, go to this first before you try the other iGoogle clones. When I first used it, I instantly fell in love with it.
Again, going to a different direction here. iGoogle allowed you to have widgets and be kept up-to-date with the news. However, more and more people are adopting pages that quickly take them to the page because they can’t seem to be bothered with a bookmarks bar.. Your browsers are adopting a “start page” by basing it on your favourite pages – but if you happen to be on multiple computers or browsers, then you need a page that will be consistent. Enter MyFav.es.
It basically presents the sites that you often frequently visit (of course, based on what you add, it doesn’t track anything). You save that page as your homepage on your computer and/or browsers, and you’re done.
Yes, it’s a very different direction from iGoogle – mainly because it doesn’t have widgets and it doesn’t have feeds. But if you get your news mostly from Facebook or Twitter, this is more likely to cut down the time for you to get on those sites.