Great Personalized Start Pages: 6 Alternatives To iGoogle

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igoogle is dead   Great Personalized Start Pages: 6 Alternatives To iGoogleIf you’ve not yet heard, Google plans to pull the plug on iGoogle in November 2013 in addition to a few other services like Google Video and Google Mini. Though the company have yet to announce a viable alternative for those who still use the service, comparable start pages do exist.

The best replacement depends entirely on how you use the service, whether it’s for a brief glance at the news and weather before starting a browsing session or as a full blown RSS and social media reader with widgets for everything under the sun. After much time trawling through countless start page services I’ve narrowed it down to this list of six.

If you’ve got your own personal favourite alternative to iGoogle or a particularly strong opinion about the news of the closure then be sure to add your thoughts in the comments, at the end of this post.

Netvibes

Probably the most complete solution for iGoogle refugees, Netvibes really does have a widget for just about anything you could ever want. Read your email, browse the news, single out an RSS feed, view images, update Twitter – the list is (nearly) endless. This is all possible from a free account, and you can even create your dashboard without having to forfeit your email address and sign up.

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netvibes   Great Personalized Start Pages: 6 Alternatives To iGoogle

There is an easy to miss button at the top of the screen for toggling between “widget” and “reader” mode, while services can be split across multiple tabs in order to keep some sort of order. The premium service provides some very powerful tools for analysing trends and monitoring online activity in real-time, and at $499 per month for a single user it sure is a “premium” service.

The free option will be suitable for most of us though, and it’s the perfect (and most powerful) alternative to iGoogle.

uStart

Not far behind Netvibes in terms of functionality, uStart also provides a hugely customisable start page from which to start any browsing session. Widgets can be added, feeds can be monitored and themes can be applied to really make it feel like your own corner of the web, though it’s not quite as advanced or pleasing to the eye as Netvibes in my opinion.

ustart   Great Personalized Start Pages: 6 Alternatives To iGoogle

Much like Netvibes, you don’t have to sign up in order to test it out and you can build your whole dashboard before deciding if it’s right for you. You can also separate your widgets across multiple tabs, and make use of the in-built RSS reader which is pretty nifty.

Protopage

A similar service to Netvibes and uStart, Protopage is a worthy replacement for iGoogle, though it requires a little more work than the other two in order to get it looking good. Much of the functionality of the aforementioned start pages is there in addition to theming options which allow you to specify your own background and colours (which you’ll be wanting to do).

protopage   Great Personalized Start Pages: 6 Alternatives To iGoogle

Protopage feels a little more cluttered than the other two and lacks a dedicated RSS reader, opting instead for individual feed widgets (which can include multiple sources). You can try before registering, and by default the service provides you with a home tab packed with news sources, a bookmarks tab and a notes tab – though I’d recommend deleting it all and starting from scratch if you’re going to use this one.

Spaaze

Spaaze is a little different to the rest of the services mentioned here in that it bills itself as a never-ending virtual corkboard and doesn’t come with hundreds of widgets to drag and drop. The corkboard itself allows you to scroll in any direction, and at any time you can bring up a “map” which allows you to quickly jump to any specific section – it’s a bit like the failed GridOS Android skin.

spaaze   Great Personalized Start Pages: 6 Alternatives To iGoogle

Much of the functionality comes in the form of HTML code snippets which allow you to add things like Google Gadgets or Twitter widgets to your corkboard in addition to bookmarks, labels, notes and YouTube or Vimeo videos. Much of Spaaze is free, with a prepaid system for upgrades as and when you want them.

My Yahoo!

Forgotten by many, Yahoo! also has its own iGoogle-like service entitled My Yahoo!. It too allows for complete customisation of content and appearance, even to the point of being able to move the mandatory advertising widget to wherever you want it (yes, really). Much of what iGoogle offers is available here too, albeit with a decidedly Yahoo! twist.

my yahoo   Great Personalized Start Pages: 6 Alternatives To iGoogle

There are a selection of widgets to search through and add, though the list is a little empty compared to Netvibes, uStart and Protopage. The supplied themes are really quite similar to those you might already be using on your iGoogle page with further layout options and multiple tabs for separating content. It’s easy to see how iGoogle crept ahead, but My Yahoo! might still be up to the task for some.

Symbaloo

Slightly different again, Symbaloo is more of a bookmark resource (with a twist) than a traditional iGoogle-style start page. There is support for RSS feeds and some inbuilt interactive widgets like weather, various social media accounts and a mail checker to name but a few, though it’s all contained within the simple tiled interface seen in the screenshot below.

symbaloo   Great Personalized Start Pages: 6 Alternatives To iGoogle

Each set of tiles is known as a “webmix” and each is added to a public gallery of webmixes created by other users. You can easily and quickly add a list of websites someone has already constructed to a new tab, create your own personalised one from scratch or a mixture of the two. Part bookmark tool, part newsreader and part discovery tool, Symbaloo supports much of what iGoogle does albeit from a different type of interface.

Conclusion

If none of these cut the mustard then you could always settle for Chrome’s default start page and some web store apps. As for web-based services, the most feature packed is probably Netvibes, and it should make the transition from iGoogle very smooth for some of you.

If you’ve got any particular favourites or anger to vent at Google’s decision then add your thoughts in the comments, below!

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70 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Radman

I’m a big fan of Genieo.
It monitors only the pages you visit, and gives you a newspaper style start page featuring articles from sites you visit most often.
In fact, that’s how I found this article on Make Use Of.
Check it out at:
http://www.genieo.com/

Tim Brookes

Thanks for the suggestion!

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Nick Bruce

Great suggestions. I am rather surprised that Google is killing iGoogle, especially in light that I know several people that use it regularly. And these users are from all different kinds of computer backgrounds, so I always figured it had a widespread audience.

Tim Brookes

Me too, though I’m guessing it’s got something to do with Google+ and how they’d rather you start browsing there or something. Of course, there’s still time for them to announce something else to replace it (again, it would probably involve Google+ though).

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Alex Z

I used My Yahoo! for years since I couldn’t find good alternative. Finally, after few tries I made a complete switch to iGoogle couple of years ago. It looks I’ll be going back to My Yahoo!.

Tim Brookes

While writing this article I noticed how My Yahoo didn’t seem like it had been updated in years – it feels old, and that’s probably because a lot of people like yourself shifted over to iGoogle which had a ton of support, games, themes etc.

Maybe have a look at Netvibes which is both nicer to look at and more powerful, IMO anyway!

jeepmanjr

I tried NetVibes. Though it was pleasing to the eye, contrary to some claims I found the content to be relatively limited. In fact, many of the listed gadgets didn’t work at all. Didn’t even have a decent bookmark gadget. So I abandoned that idea. I currently use iGoogle, but I also have Yahoo on standby. That is, unless something better appears.

Ekdog

Exactly. I need a good bookmark gadget like Bookmarks for iGoogle.

PDSF

Agree 100%. I found this article looking for an alternative to My Yahoo and after finding my iGoogle page had disappeared. My Yahoo works ok, but the look is archaic and adding RSS feeds–even simple ones from Craigslist–is almost impossible.

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FortySevens

Tim Brookes

Hmmm… that’s just bookmarks and adverts. Not really a replacement for iGoogle now is it?

Gromerer

I totally agree, adverts are the most disturbing for me. Many of mentioned sites look interesting, but I prefer clean and user-friendly interface. So…http://boardblocks.com

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Humza Aamir

I’m a frequent user of iGoogle, gave me a clean and simple overview of various things. Still can’t fathom why they’re taking it down. They don’t have to make a thing that always appeals on a massive scale to everyone every time. Now would have to stick with one of the mentioned above :/

Tim Brookes

I’ve read a lot of comments like this over the past week, so who knows – maybe they’ll change their minds or at least announce an alternative product that integrates with one of their many other services. It does seem to be the Google way though, and has happened to so many (admittedly not so good) products over the years.

maureen2c

I Have to agree with you. I have been using igoogle for some time now, and like it! Removing it will directly affect my productivity, as I can scan several different apps, email and news sites quickly, several times a day.

I will check those recommended as replacements – however none of them appear to be as good as igoogle – perhpas there is time for G to change its mind if enough folk complain?

Humza Aamir

Google is probably taking iGoogle down because of the very few people like us who find this feature useful.

yea right

Affect your productivity? Getting info from news sites? Attention maureen2c: Google is ONLY in the business of tracking everything you do, period. If you like that, I guess google is for you. News? All the posted news articles are heavily screened by news editors and the government (YES, the government) before they are released to the ISPs. You don’t get unbiased news reports at all. You get what the US government wants you to see.

Maureen Clark

FYI – I do not live in the US – and whilst I do iook at some US news sits they are far from my primary source of news information. The world is a bigger place than the US.

I like Igoogle, and it works for me. I would want it to continue, or find a mirror replica of it.

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Moath Akkad

i think that igoogle is better

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Nezlo

At the moment I’m using iGoogle but have been trying out different alternatives. Thus far I like http://www.allmyfaves.com quite a bit.

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Fred Strong

Google, like Microsoft and a few other notable big names, always seem to enjoy shooting themselves in the foot every once in a while, taking random side roads into nowhere until they finally get it right. Microsoft did it with Vista, the world famous flop that should have waited (as in never should have made it to market) until they fully developed Windows 7.
I was an early adopter of iGoogle, personalizing my page with my favorites. I enjoyed Google Books (now integrated into Google Play) and a few other distinctly useful tools, like Google Scholar (used this when I was doing research in college). Now, another change, it’s going away forever. Why remove something that more than just a few people find extremely useful, especially for organizing a home page? Perhaps if we complain enough, they’ll bring it back.

Tim Brookes

Add Facebook to that list, they’re experts when it comes to bad decision making and lack of forethought, except they seem to get away with it more than the other two…

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Graham Richardson

I didnt realise My Yahoo was still going as I gave it up when iGoogle came along as it was perfect for what I wanted and easy to set up. I have set up my own start pages using Google sites – but I have to wonder how long it will be before they kill that service too!

Quite like the look of Symbaloo though so I might give it a go

Dean Karr

I’ve been using Symbaloo for a few months, and it’s perfect for the way I use my computer. 95% of the time I want to Google something, or I’m headed for one of twenty so favorite websites. My Symbaloo opening screen has a large Google bar in the center, and buttons for all my favorite sites. Symbaloo may take a few seconds to load sometimes, but after it’s open, it opens my sites as fast as if I had signed in directly. I wish the MS desktop was like Symbaloo.

Daniela @Symbaloo

Thanks for mentioning Symbaloo!

For all people who would like to see more about how to start with Symbaloo after having used iGoogle, we setup this special page: http://blog.symbaloo.com/igoogle-alternative/

Tim Brookes

Symbaloo earned its place in this article, great work on the migration page. I’m sure you’ll scoop up a lot of refugees! :)

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Technobabble

I use http://www.43marks.com. It’s very basic, but very functional and flexible. I guess it’s more of a bookmark resource like symabaloo. It also supports RSS feeds.

Tim Brookes

Thanks for the recommendation!

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Coyote

Sorry…. I stopped reading when I got to the Netvibes “at $499 per month”. What premeium service can they offer? Does a topless stripper come to my house every morning and read my RSS feeds to me?

Tim Brookes

Realtime web analytics, monitoring of trends, powerful SEO stuff for catching the latest wave of traffic and diverting it to your super cool blog of course.

For corporate solutions, $499 a month is pocket change and that’s who pays Netvibes wages. You should probably have kept reading, however, because Netvibes is completely free to use for anything an iGoogle refugee needs.

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Clinton Wu

These are good recs for iGoogle dashboard alternatives. While functional, I don’t necessarily believe these are up to current web design standards but some people don’t care and want to get the info they want as quick as they can.

For those looking for a better designed experience, checkout Skim.Me at http://skim.me. We’re an image based reader that automatically manages a to-do list of your browsing based on your history. Our experience was built to combat overconsumption and information overload. First version out in a few months!

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Arkajyoti Jana

Spaaze is really great!

Tim Brookes

I’m glad you like it. I think it would work well as some sort of desktop background, though the whole pay as you go aspect might put people off.

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Aditya Roy

symbaloo looks good, giving it a try…

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steve

On your suggestion I’m enjoying discovering Netvibes. It’s webmail widget doesn’t seem to like my @yahoo.co.uk email account though…

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Graham Richardson

Anyone else having trouble trying to register a new account with Symaboo? It looks great and seems to have everything I need – but it keeps saying my email address is incorrect – and I have tried all of them!
Hopefully this is just a temp blip?

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Ian Morrison

I’ll miss the Cityscape theme as much as anything – the one where the light changes with the time of day. It’s genius, and I don’t think the alternatives offer anything similar.

queenofthejungle

Me, too!

aquamarina

ditto!

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Muhannad Agha

Never been a fan of iGoogle.. don’t know anyone uses it

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iGoogler

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karen

I will most likely switch to netvibes but, I will also not be using google as my default search engine on the page. I feel it it my only real form of protest an I’m a reject of the sixty and have no intention of going quietly into the night.

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Jannifer

I really find it annoying to try to find alternatives to things that close down. Nothing about closing down iGoogle makes any sense. I don’t see what could be gained by doing that. Sigh…

jakaleyed

It seems Google as every other Public company makes all decisions based on 1 to 1 revenue numbers. If they can’t track significant revenues to a product that is taking up resources, it’s time to shut down the venture (iGoogle) and reappropriate those coders to a more profitable venture (the Google Play store) and Android releases. I guess they have yet to learn that once you have a Global brand, some revenue needs to be spent nursing public opinion. This means… you not only live by the motto “Do no evil”, but actually go a step further and “Be altruistic”. I guess capitalism needs a reality check every once in awhile, and that’s where we as consumers must vote with our patronage for the companies that are making lives better. If someone finds a company that’s doing this in the Home-page market, let’s go!

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Joan

Thanks for the suggestions. I will look into them. Not sure why Google wants to alienate its customers who like things “as is”. Are we that small of a demographic?

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Joe

Is it just me, or is Google starting to look like the new Mordor? Or maybe the step-dad I never had.

Regardless, the doors open for a good alternative to step in as there has to be millions of ig users who will feel stranded on the side of the information highway come 11-2013.

That is assuming the Mayan’s weren’t onto something.

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Sharon Leahy

Thanks for this article, it helps a lot. I really enjoyed the igoogle, which now in August 2012 cannot even be located. I very much appreciate your suggestions, and will give them a try.

Tim Brookes

It’s still there, Sharon – you can find it at: http://www.google.com.au/ig

Might be a good time to start checking out the opposition though, you’ve got about a year till it will be buried.

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jtm

At least we have a year to find an alternative. I’ll be re-trying My Yahoo again for a while I think – and might check out netvibes. Though, My Yahoo has a pitiful widget collection – not even a fish pond! – I use it mostly for bookmarks and news and some RSS feeds.

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mahesh Maheta

I think Google is wrong to yank away a good thing like igoogle

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Jason

I’ve started using http://www.semporium.com and find it really easy. It’s more like symbaloo than iGoogle but I like the simple icon layout more anyway.

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george toth

If you think this will make the bust out chrome page a big success guess again. This just gives creedance ot something I was told when I went with igoogle, be careful because they will pull it for no reason. That is what happened, I am disgusted with your organization.

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Jeff

Nollr (nollr.com) is a new start page project currently in beta. Its an entirely web-based start page, and built to flex to the user’s device — so its accessible on all your devices (laptop, tablet, mobile) regardless of browser, hardware, or software. It handles everything from images, to videos, to web apps like calculators and weather widgets. Its free and all about being open and transparent. Check that one out!

Donald

Wow!!! It’s responsively designed and everything. Just gave it a try. It comes with widgets, has public/private page options and you can tag/filter all your page content. The user interface is honestly one of the best and most beautiful I’ve ever seen on any web application. Looks like it’s all HTML (aka no Flash)… maybe HTML5? These guys are good!!!

Emily D.

I had been using iGoogle, then switched to Speed Dial for Chrome but Nollr is much nicer because it’s totally web-based and I can check it anywhere. It also seems to be more stable. Looks and feels really smooth. It’s very “clean” almost like the new Windows 8 Metro UI and I love the way the page automatically resizes to your window. Added my favorite YouTube and Vimeo videos to my page to watch later. You can even view them without leaving the page. This is really well done!

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Leona

I think myLinkCloud is way better than any of your suggested iGoogle alternatives: the free service was launched about a week ago and is still in beta with some features like RSS feeds yet to come, BUT IT IS AWESOME =) Here´s the first review: http://bit.ly/Uy59K9 and here´s what it looks like: http://bit.ly/UxeFSb Make sure to check it out guys https://mylinkcloud.com/

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jeffrelynn

What the hell?! … that is all.

ps. grrrrrrrr

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Jenny

I’m personally using http://www.yourls.com. It’s extremely simple but effective personal startpage that does the job for me.

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Marc Aguilar

I am using http://www.yourls.com, by far it is the best for me. aside from it is simple and easy to use, it stores my favorite links in the cloud, so that I can access them from any browser, device or location.

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Elmer M

big fan of iGoogle, hate to see it go :(

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JusterFX

I liked iGoogle, but I found http://boardblocks.com and it seems better to me.
It’s simple and can be linked to Facebook unlike Google.

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dccampfin

Tim, can’t thank you enough for starting this discussion. I’ve been using igoogle for a long time, with top news, boookmarks, google maps (My Places), google translate, weather for several cities, google reader, blogger, Gmail, other email accounts, currency exchange, and about a dozen other modules. My only gripe was never being able to have Google Sites as a module that could be in one of my two igoogle pages.

I’d seen netvibes, and even emailed them about their pricing structure that looked silly to me. Not sure that it can do everything I want, so I will try out a couple of others – right now protopage and nollr (when they let me in for a beta test). Neither of these were familiar to me before your piece. I’m less interested in the ones that are mostly bookmarks and more for ones that allow full content on the page rather than than opening another page, and have easy addition of gadgets/modules of many stripes.

Last, and hardest, is how to gauge which of these is most likely to last more than a year. I’ve already been subject to more than one application I liked being absorbed by Google and then shut down. This is a feature of the new economy – it used to be that one never thought how long a company would be around when buying a product. Now, before I get too harnessed to something I try to make some kind of judgment about the viability of a company, usually not based on nearly enough data!

Anyway, thanks again.

Tim Brookes

I’m glad the article has helped you out! When you do find an iGoogle replacement that suits your needs, do stop by again and tell us what you’ve chosen and why! :)

NetVibes seems to be the best from my perspective, and while the pricing is a little silly the free account should do everything the average user needs.

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Edie Shack

Thanks for the suggestions. Ustart turned out to be just what I wanted, very close in appearance and function to iGoogle and possible superior.

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Marc Aguilar

I would prefer using http://www.yourls.com because its simple to use, very organized.

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seb

Not listed here, but I like the simplicity and multi-device support (iPhone, iPad) of Iguzu. Check it out at http://www.iguzu.com

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Ben

I’ve been trying out the free Netvibes for about a week or so. I tried a couple of others and was dissappointed. Anyway, So far I’m kinda liking it. I like that I could add
not only web based e-mails apps, but also the email provided by my ISP. It was a bit tricky to set up but all is good and it’s right in front of me. I also added the Google Calendar, a couple of news feeds (Yahoo and CNN) along with a mediocre weather app (which I’m still looking for a better one) There are 900 or so pages of themes or you can make your own. I can also access the page from any browser and make it my start page.
All in all I’m pretty happy. There is also alot of help for netvibes on the web along with a forum.
that my 2 cents

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