The way I see it, ideal startpage should be as fast as any other desktop program or close to it, provide productive and uncluttered interface, should have easily customizable design and offer wide variety of widgets. To find out where each stands I have selected top 12 web-based startpages and compared them based on several factors(see below). Based on results I came up with following;
Best Ones: (1)Netvibes, (2)Pageflakes, (3)Yourminis and (4)Protopage
Average: (5)Google ig, (6)Webwag and (7)Live.com
Least Satisfactory: (8)Linkedfeed, (9)Escobo, (10)Itsastart, (11)My Yahoo and (12)Gritwire
Quick Note for those who feel left out: Web-based startpages(aka AJAX/Flash homepages) are nifty tools aimed at making your web life easier by putting most-needed services on one page(RSS subscriptions, ToDos, calendars, emails…). There are lots of them and they’re all free.
Table below compares and lists 12 startpages(from best to worst) based on following factors;
- availability of basic/vital features (notepad, todo lists, RSS, calendar, email module)
- podcast support (ability to play podcasts)
- tabs support
- availability of widget gallery (clock, calculator, games, weather, site-specific widgets…)
- startpage speed (feed loading time, adding widgets, moving modules…)
- user-friendly (how easy to use it; how to add widgets, how to edit settings, availability of inbuilt feed reader, how long does it take to figure out what does what and etc)
- design (overall look of the startpage, screen-space usage…)
|Speed||. User-friendly .||Design|
|Google ig||All(in widgets)||needs widget||Y||Y||3||1.5||2.5|
|Live.com||All(in widgets)||needs widget||Y||Y||2||1.5||2|
|Linkedfeed||rss, email, notes||Y||Y||N||1.5**||2||2.5|
* lets you create widget from any webpage
** extremely slow feed loading
My thoughts on Google ig, Live.com and myYahoo:
In my opinion none of the startpages released by biggies like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft even slightly meet expectations of their users. They could have done much better. Google’s startpage does a good job by providing great speed and huge widget gallery, but lack of basic integration with it’s own services(ex; google reader) just kills it. For instance, there is no direct option to add feeds but through Google reader.
When it comes to microsoft’s live.com, only positive thing about it is the search bar. Very good selection of colors.:-) Other than that it’s slow, has unclear navigation, there is no inbuilt feedreader and has relatively scarce gallery. As about my Yahoo, there isn’t much to tell, it seems as though it was developed by intern. It has one of the worst designs ever, not mentioning lack of almost everything.