I’ve had iGoogle set as my browser homepage for years (before even the much reviled update that moved the tabs from the top of the page to the side back in 2008). Before that, I think I was using Excite. Now last week Google announced that it will be retiring its iGoogle personalized homepage service in November of next year.
This saddened me (and I wasn’t alone). My custom homepage wasn’t very complicated, but it was comfortable and something I’m used to seeing when I open up my browser every day: weather, sports scores, stocks, and movies. Even though the shutdown is over a year away, I started looking for iGoogle alternatives spurred on by a recent segment on TekZilla.
I was surprised to find my old account at protopage.com was still active. I think I started playing around with it back when Excite shut down its homepage service and I was looking for something new. Most of the widgets I had were broken so I spent a little time trying to get it configured and eventually gave up. If you’re looking for an RSS-based homepage, protopage might work for you (I use Google Reader) but most of the widgets are broken or lack the customization I was looking for. Netvibes was another suggestion from the TekZilla crew but I gave up on that one after just a few minutes. Even my old My Way page was still active but a lot of the stuff there is broken now too.
So what ended up being the closest replacement for my iGoogle page? My Yahoo. In over 18 years of internet usage I have never used Yahoo as my homepage … until now. I was able to re-create my iGoogle homepage almost exactly, widget-for-widget, with the customizations I wanted.
It’s not perfect (neither was iGoogle) and I’m obviously still using all the other Google services like Gmail, Calendar, Reader, and Google+, but now when I open my browser, I’ll be looking at Yahoo. That’s going to take some getting used to. 😉
Maybe Google will reconsider shutting down iGoogle, we’ll have to see. Do you have any other alternative suggestions for a personalized homepage? Leave me a comment below.