Back in May of 2005 Google launched its homepage personalization system, iGoogle. 8 years and some odd months later the search engine giant has decided to shutdown the service and allocate its resources elsewhere. Were you a fan of iGoogle? If so, you may be interested in the alternatives listed below. Most of these homepage sites are relatively identical with only a few varying features. Each one is worth taking for a short spin to discover which suits you best.
Among the available choices ProtoPage is one of the oldest. It has been around pre 2005 and has a solid track record. ProtoPage offers a plethora of customization options and keeps the process simple by using in-browser drag-and-drop. Everything is added to the homepage via widgets and each set can be organized using multiple tabs. RSS feeds can be combined from multiple sources within a single widget, which is nice for keeping similar news organized.
When it comes to a polished and visually appeasing presentation, NetVibes wins hands down. It offers a few bonus features such as analytical monitoring of trends and ideas that are spreading about the internet. Its additional tools are particularly useful for brand building of an online presence. Overall customization of the on-page widgets is sufficient but may leave you wanting more after trying out some of the alternatives. However one feature not to be overlooked is its “reader” mode that attempts to mirror Google Reader in functionality.
Does the internet need big bulky buttons and widgets to be useful? StartMe doesn’t seem to think so. Everything added to its custom homepage is no larger than an icon and a line of text. However for those that can’t live without widgets, the developers of the service promise to add them soon. With a clean minimalistic approach, StartMe easily earns its place on this list. Instructions for migrating from iGoogle to StartMe can be found here.
NetVibes is probably the most similar to iGoogle out of the bunch. It’s almost a complete clone. it even goes as far as to advertise its own site title tags as the “iGoogle Alternative.” However, following Google’s closure announcement, igHome has been experiencing extreme performance issues due to the the massive influx of new users. The developers are currently adding more servers to deal with this so any problems will hopefully be short lived. If you are looking for the same old same old, this may the internet homepage for you.
This internet start page comes in the form of a Chrome extension that stores all of its data in your browser. It’s interface style is reminiscent of Windows 8 and the tiles are fully customizable. The downside is the RSS feeds aren’t as pretty, but if that isn’t your thing then Awesome New Tab page is worth a look as its widgets outweigh all of the other iGoogle alternatives.
Bonus: My Yahoo!
Specifically in response to Google closing down its homepage service, Yahoo! has revamped its own flavor of homepage personalization. My Yahoo! isn’t new to the scene, however its much-needed facelift finally makes it a worthy contender that can stack up against the other alternatives. This marks the first time since 2008 that Yahoo! has updated the service.
Do you use a great iGoogle alternative not on this list? We’d love to hear what you think about it in the comments below!