I’ve been using iGoogle as my browser start page for years. It’s not that I love Google. Rather, I have something of a love/hate relationship with Google.
But iGoogle has served me well as a starting point for my browser activities. I like the combination of widgets, which allow me to see my mail, news headlines, recent Facebook updates, and local weather at a glance.
Ever since Google announced the retirement of iGoogle (effective November 1, 2013), I’ve been procrastinating the task of finding a replacement. However, since the deadline is now less than 2 months away, I’m actively searching for a new solution.
What will take the place of my iGoogle start page?
One possibility is Netvibes. This is a customizable page with similar widgets to those available in iGoogle. Netvibes is catering to iGoogle refugees with a “simple” migration process, which involves telling you how to export your settings from iGoogle and import them into Netvibes.
Connecting to Facebook and the popular e-mail services is easy with Netvibes. Once you create your account, you can populate several dashboards to follow topics you like.
The next candidate is Protopage.com. It is another widgetized start page, but I don’t think it’s quite as user-friendly as Netvibes. For example, the social network widgets aren’t as easy to find and set up. Since I’m a social media junkie, not having Facebook immediately available as a default widget is a bit of a drawback for me.
If you don’t care about seeing your Facebook and Twitter activity on your start page, and just want to read news headlines, Protopage will probably work just fine for you.
The third possibility for me is igHome. After a quick sign-up and test drive, I think igHome is the most like iGoogle. If you’re the kind of user who doesn’t like change, you will probably like igHome.
Out of the box, it has a look and feel very similar to the familiar iGoogle default. Facebook and Twitter are included as default widgets, and it’s easy to connect to your accounts. One thing I noticed about the Twitter widget is that it contains ads. I’m not crazy about that, and may remove that widget and just use my Twitter feed manager instead.
Another iGoogle-friendly feature is that igHome includes the familiar link bar that iGoogle has, with links to Gmail, Drive, Calendar, and other Google products. If you’re accustomed to navigating from your home page to those Google resources, you will feel right at home accessing those links from within your igHome page.
I’ll probably go with igHome for a while, since it seems the closest to what I already have with iGoogle. I’m interested in hearing what you think about the alternatives. If you have tried any other browser startpage services, please let me know.