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You guys are awesome. In my article last week about why Google is my homepage, I requested you all share with me your homepage of choice. Little did I know how many of you would share: the article received tons of comments, during which 12 really good homepage ideas were shared. I couldn’t risk these ideas going unnoticed in the comments section of an article however, so I decided to share them all with you.
All these homepages meet my qualifications for a quality homepage: no clutter, quick to load and some basic functionality. If you’re looking to replace your current homepage with something better, you’ll have no shortage of ideas after checking this out.
Opera’s Speed Dial: Bookmarks & Search
Opera‘s user base is among the most loyal I can think of: you literally can’t write anything involving browsers without hearing from Opera fans about a built-in feature. This article was no exception, as a number of our readers informed me of the awesomeness of Opera’s Speed Dial function.
The idea is simple: every time a new tab is opened you’re shown the bookmarks you use most often. You can set these bookmarks to be whatever you want, and can even sync them across multiple computers. This feature is so good, some Opera users set the new tab page as their homepage, making it not only the first thing they see when they open a tab but also the first thing they see when they open their browser.
This homepage can only be used in the Opera browser, which you can download here for Linux, Mac and Windows.
Chrome’s New Tab Page: A Lot Like Speed Dial
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the Google Chrome team really liked Opera’s Speed Dial feature. Sure, Chrome’s new tab page differs from Opera’s offering in a few ways: it dynamically fills itself with the pages you like best, and features recently visited pages at the bottom of the screen. As our readers pointed out: it loads instantly, shows you the sites you’re most likely to want. What else are you looking for?
This feature is built into Chrome. If you’re not already using Google’s excellent browser, download it here for Linux, Mac and Windows.
Fast Dial: Yep, Another Speed Dial Clone
This one’s easy enough to explain: it’s Opera’s Speed Dial, for Firefox. This Firefox extension replaces the blank page you see when you open a new tab, with unlimited customizable links. Set them up and a thumbnail of the site in question will display. Set them all up and you’ve got a quick way to get started with your web browsing without having to switch to Chrome or Firefox.
The con? Unlike Chrome’s new tab page, it doesn’t dynamically fill itself in; unlike Opera’s speedial, the bookmarks cannot be synchronized from computer to computer. Still, it’s worth checking out. Check out and download Fastdial here.
3x3links: Like the Others, But Web Based
3x3links is like Speed Dial/Chrome New Tab Page/Fast Dial, but for any browser. This web-based startpage allows you to set up nine shortcuts that arrange themselves in a grid. Your bookmarks are stored in the cloud, meaning you can access them anywhere and start your browsing in style. Set this up as your homepage and you’ve got a clean homepage with links to your favorites. Check it out here.
Why Not Make Your Own From Scratch?
MakeUseOf readers are a tech-savvy bunch, so it should come as no surprise that a number of our readers take a DIY approach to their homepage. Why settle for existing homepages if you can make your own? This is a great project for those who want to teach themselves HTML, and a quick one for those who already know it.
The best part? You can’t get a more flexible homepage than one you write yourself from scratch. This isn’t for everyone, but it is a good idea for those willing to put in some time.
about:blank Is The Ultimate In Minimalism
My key reason for choosing Google as my homepage was minimalism: I wanted something that loaded quickly and stayed out of my way. Having said that, nothing fits that description quite as well as a blank page.
In most browsers, typing about:blank in the address bar loads an empty page. If you like having a homepage that’s”¦well”¦a homepage and not a blank page, this isn’t for you. But if you value speed above all else, about:blank is your ideal solution.
I know I talked about this one in the previous article, but I can’t help it: it’s just about perfect. This site does nothing but show you four slick icons. You can select from a wide variety of popular services, and there’s no need to log in once you do: a simple cookie keeps track of your choices. This one is fast, clean and efficient.
The one con is the limited number of pages featured: MakeUseOf isn’t there, and neither is more of the web. But the things featured are hugely popular, so Fav4 is certainly worth checking out – a couple of you readers certainly seemed to enjoy it.
Google Bookmarks: A List Of Bookmarks
As it turns out, Google.com isn’t all Google offers on the homepage front. Those wanting a simple collection of links should check out Google Bookmarks. While all it does is give you a list of simple text links, and it’s not the prettiest homepage on the net, some appreciate its simplicity. Best of all, it’s tied to your Google account, so you don’t need to create a new account to use it if you already have Gmail or any other Google service.
The main con is it’s yet another part of your life given to the Google Empire, but if a list of links doesn’t concern you too much check out Google Bookmarks here.
Start.io: Simple & Sexy List Of Bookmarks
It’s like Google Bookmarks, but pretty. Start.io gives you the chance to create a clean and condensed list of links, styled however you like. This page loads quickly and can serve as a great starting point. Best of all, you can set up whatever links you like.
Yes, you need to sign up for an account, but it’s a great compromise for people who want a custom set of links but don’t feel like writing their own from scratch. Check out Start.io here.
If four to nine bookmarks isn’t enough for you, check out Symbaloo. This site is the heavy power-users dream, allowing you to literally fill your page with more shortcuts than you can shake a stick at. You’ll need an account to set up the service, but once you do it’ll be hard to switch to any other page.
The con? It’s busy. Really busy. But if you prefer selection to simplicity Symbaloo comes recommended. Find it here.
A number of late commenters, including Genieo’s own Vice President, commented to tell us about the wonders of Genieo. This service, which requires the installation of a proprietary Windows-only program to work, analyzes your Facebook feed, your Twitter feed and your browsing habits in order to build you a custom homepage catered to your interests.
It doesn’t work with Chrome, nor does it work on Linux or Mac. But if you’re a loyal IE or Firefox user this one might be worth checking out; a couple readers called it game-changing. I myself won’t be touching it because I want the same homepage on my Jolicloud netbook as my Windows desktop, but you’re free to check it out here.
This one’s just slick. When you open it you see nothing but a search box and a clock. Type a search and you’ll be shown the results in the same window, which you can browse using nothing more than your keyboard. Hit “Enter” to open a site and it’ll launch in a new tab. This is an amazing homepage for people who want to browse Google results without touching your mouse. Check it out; you’ll probably love it.
There you have it: twelve great homepages recommended by you, the MakeUseOf reader. If you think of another great idea for a homepage feel free to share it below of course, but I’ve decided on mine: I’m sticking with Google. This isn’t to say none of these services are cool; on the contrary, they were all awesome enough for me to share here. It’s just that none are cool enough to make me switch from Google.
Discuss whether or not I’m stubborn in the comments below. While you’re at it, keep on being awesome.