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It is with a heavy heart that I will mourn the passing of my old friend iGoogle on Nov 1, 2013. This announcement was made by the Google gods months ago and I really thought there would be an update by now of some spiffy new alternative, but none seems to be in the works. There are dozens of theories and debates about why Google is taking this course, but it seems so odd that they wouldn’t at least offer a satisfactory option.
My iGoogle home page is my quick “go to” guide for news, entertainment, weather and tech. Sure, you can get all this info in Twitter and other social media, but can’t be as easily customized and formatted as with iGoogle. In those cases, the timing and appearance is in the hands of the content creator, but with iGoogle, I can customize how much info I see, how often it is refreshed and how it is prioritized. It will be a great loss for me and I’m now urgently seeking replacements.
Here’s my list of requirements (which, IMHO are not that radical):
- Allows me to post RSS feeds from any source I choose (Wired, CNN, Denver Post, etc.) and position them on the page where I’d like them
- Pre-formatted weather gadget with options to display at least three locations
- Option to limit the number of threads displayed on each feed
- I don’t mind ads if the app is free, but would like them to be small and not flash or blink
- Browser-based, with easy set-up in Chrome and ability to save the page as my home page
- Links to my frequently used pages– particularly Gmail
- Extra points for regularly updated gadgets with new and fun functionality
- Little to no spam from the reader site or the widgets that I select
- Oh yeah, free
Here’s what I’ve turned up so far (in alpha order) along with notes from my research and personal experience. None of them are perfect, but I guess I’ll have to get used to something!
igHome - very closely modeled after iGoogle, allows links to Gmail, calendar, maps, etc.
Mywebgrid (in beta?)
- Integrated with Yahoo/MSN email, so no options for links to Gmail, calendar, etc.
- Easy to customize headlines
- Preloaded tabs with content (sports, fashion, etc.)
- Lots of widgets
- Customizable columns
- Can’t search apps or rss feeds
- Personal accounts are free, but the company’s main focus is business ($499/month)
- Custom colors and backgrounds
- Wide assortment of drag and drop widgets
- Resizable widgets
- Fee to remove ad banner?
- Doesn’t post headlines, more a collection of icons to fav sites
- Icon based, but has ability to display an rss feed
Resources used in this article:
Please add your comments with good alternatives for customized web content readers. Thanks!