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iGoogle—customizable Google home page
May 1, 2007 7:12 AM   Subscribe

iGoogle is the new name for Google Home Page (previously). It's now out of testing. If you use any Google services, such as Gmail, it's worth checking out because it really is useful. You can even make your own widgets. For the first time since 1997, I have a home page that's not about:blank.
posted by humblepigeon (135 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
iDontLikeIt
posted by zeoslap at 7:20 AM on May 1, 2007


(the name, not the page)
posted by zeoslap at 7:21 AM on May 1, 2007


would it help progress any if I just Goggle start living my life for me now and avoided the rush?
posted by jonmc at 7:24 AM on May 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


OMG pepsi white! How did it know I like the NY Giants? Spooky! (cue theremin)
posted by Mister_A at 7:26 AM on May 1, 2007


iWas wondering what that new green "i" was all about. iThought maybe they bought Apple.
posted by sidereal at 7:28 AM on May 1, 2007


Looks interesting enough. I currently use Netvibes, and this looks like a very similar setup.
posted by Dr-Baa at 7:28 AM on May 1, 2007


It's actually really useful. Bastards.
posted by Mister_A at 7:28 AM on May 1, 2007


iThought maybe they bought Apple.

If that ever happened, you'd hear the collective orgasm cries of much of our readership for miles around.
posted by jonmc at 7:30 AM on May 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


Is anybody going to say anything serious?
posted by Mister_A at 7:32 AM on May 1, 2007


what's up with the name?

I saw this early this morning. How is it different from Google Homepage - which I've had set up for some time?
posted by 2shay at 7:32 AM on May 1, 2007


Yeah, I sort of thought Apple had unofficial dibs on "iProduct"s too.

Also, "Pepsi White" = awesome.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:33 AM on May 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


Is anybody going to say anything serious?

DAD, I told you to stay off my computer.
posted by sidereal at 7:33 AM on May 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've been wondering why the url was http://www.google.com/ig .
posted by gsteff at 7:36 AM on May 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


iGoogle is just like Crayon.
posted by caddis at 7:36 AM on May 1, 2007


iGoogle? What is this, 1994?
posted by delmoi at 7:37 AM on May 1, 2007


iGoogle is just like Crayon.

I could see myself using iG because it will show me my GMail and Calendar on the same page, along with all the other junk like weather and sticky notes.
posted by rxrfrx at 7:38 AM on May 1, 2007


So this is just the google homepage out of beta? -- so basically there is nothing new here. It's just out of beta.
posted by bigmusic at 7:40 AM on May 1, 2007


Still can't display the picasaweb image feed on the homepage. I remember google saying last year that they were going to stop making new apps because even many of them didn't know what the extent of their product range was. But they buy companies every damn week it seems. I just mention this because it's a battle of search to find which forum, group or database to find help for which product now. Searching the internet for esoterica is easier.
posted by peacay at 7:40 AM on May 1, 2007


i like it
posted by pyramid termite at 7:43 AM on May 1, 2007


Besides the ability to drag and drop, what am I missing here? To my untrained eye, it looks like any of the portals that were all the rage in the late 90's. But there isn't much snark here, so there has to be something more to it that I'm overlooking. What is it?
posted by Bugbread at 7:45 AM on May 1, 2007


http://www.goodsearch.com/
posted by petersn1 at 7:46 AM on May 1, 2007


It appeared to be mocking me with the "Dictionary.com Word of the Day":
credulous:inclined to believe too readily.
supplant: to take the place of.
indigence: extreme poverty.
It is true that Google is reading our mail; they know me too well.
posted by Abiezer at 7:47 AM on May 1, 2007


iGoogle? What is this, 1994?

I was thinking 1997 but that's basically my first thought.
posted by octothorpe at 7:47 AM on May 1, 2007


If that ever happened, you'd hear the collective orgasm cries of much of our readership for miles around.

Right up until they either announce subscription apple style fees which will antagonize former google users or give away free Macs which will destroy Mac users' veblen status.
posted by srboisvert at 7:51 AM on May 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


so basically there is nothing new here. It's just out of beta.

Hey, that's big news for Google! Although I suppose their betas aren't too much different from finished products much of the time.

Now, when Flickr comes out of "Gamma," or wherever the fuck it decides to ditch the Greek alphabet, that'll be a big deal.
posted by danb at 7:52 AM on May 1, 2007


I'll just agree with the other snarks about 1997. This was iCrap in Beta and it's still iCrap. There are much better custom portal solutions out there if you have a look about. But it's not about quality it's about iFuckingBrands
posted by twistedonion at 7:58 AM on May 1, 2007


BBC News, Gmail, and daily Buddhist quotes on one page. Score.
posted by billypilgrim at 8:01 AM on May 1, 2007


ooo, Calvin and Hobbes...
posted by billypilgrim at 8:05 AM on May 1, 2007


twistedonion writes "There are much better custom portal solutions out there if you have a look about."

How about sharing some links then.
posted by peacay at 8:06 AM on May 1, 2007


1. Payoff ICANN, buy i.com
2. profit
3. relocate to detroit.
posted by acro at 8:11 AM on May 1, 2007


so there has to be something more to it that I'm overlooking. What is it?

Random kitten!
posted by squeak at 8:11 AM on May 1, 2007


DailyMe.

Haven't we all stopped giving two f--ks about what non-famous people are reading / eating / watching / etc? Of course, what the famous are reading / eating / watching / etc is still extremely interesting. That is why fame is so precious.
posted by rhymer at 8:11 AM on May 1, 2007


(4) stranger things happen
posted by acro at 8:12 AM on May 1, 2007


How about sharing some links then.

Netvibes.

I've got Gmail, Google Calendar, BBC News, Last.fm, and several other things set up on mine.
posted by Espy Gillespie at 8:12 AM on May 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


yea - i like the page also. I have a calender, word of the day, to-do list, google reader, web-definitions, weather, clock, and bookmarks - all in one place. I also have a second homepage with a bunch of feeds on it.

the themes are lame.

what's on your homepage?
posted by 2shay at 8:14 AM on May 1, 2007


Am I missing something, or can you not import your feeds from Google Reader? You have to add them one at a time?

Netvibes 1, Google Homepage iGoogle 0.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:16 AM on May 1, 2007


I've been using the personalised home page thingie for several months now, and quite enjoy the page (after a few fits and starts about what content I wanted on there). Making smart choices that didn't hinder productivity or stall initial browser load required some tweaking, but it was worth it for me.

My favourite part is the theme. I know, it's silly and absolutely useless, but my workday is definitely brightened knowing the ladybug and the frog are happily playing on a slip & slide whilst I slave away on spreadsheets. Or that the fox is busy gathering fruit for his lunch. Dang that busy little fox, he shames me with his fruitfulness.

I've seen a couple of mentions of Netvibe in the past week or so (aside from in this thread, the only other blip was an article which was not much more than a fan squeal by someone who started off with AOL, which didn't fill me with curiosity for the product), but hadn't heard of it prior to that. What are the main advantages over the personalised Google homepage?

As far as other customisable portals...what are they and why are they better than what I'm using now?
posted by batmonkey at 8:18 AM on May 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


what 2shay and bigmusic said.
posted by shmegegge at 8:24 AM on May 1, 2007


IBM DeveloperWorks has a tutorial on Building Google Gadgets: Part 1 of 2 (to come).
posted by spock at 8:31 AM on May 1, 2007


iGoogle? What is this, 1994?

I was thinking 1997 but that's basically my first thought.


The iMac was introduced in 1998, y'all.

If they were going for a 1994 vibe, this would be called Power Google Performa 6612CD/AV DOS Compatible.
posted by designbot at 8:33 AM on May 1, 2007 [8 favorites]


Lots of people here are comparing iGoogle to various pre-2000 "portals" but there are many differences.

Firstly, this lets you access your Google services, and therefore your own data. Portals wanted to let you go out onto the WWW (as it was known back then). iGoogle is more about reflecting back your world and putting it all within easy reach.

Secondly, it's extremely customizable. It's able to pick-up on any RSS. This is important because portals were all about you eating what big companies wanted to feed you. They were in control. With iGoogle, you're in control.

Thirdly, it's AJAX-ified, making it less clumsy to use. This can't be underestimated. The history of software is the ability to provide useful functions and make them easy to use.

Fourthly, and linked with point #1, is that iGoogle isn't an end in itself, like portals were. Google clearly wants this to be a launching point to its other services—a kind of online desktop from which other programs can be launched. Somehow this makes iGoogle less daunting. That was part of the problem with portals—they just took themselves too seriously.
posted by humblepigeon at 8:36 AM on May 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've been using Google Personalized Home for months. I wish they hadn't renamed it to iGoogle. I find it iNnoying.
posted by spacewaitress at 8:36 AM on May 1, 2007


Nice one, designbot!
posted by Mister_A at 8:37 AM on May 1, 2007


The best feature of igoogle is the mobile homepage, at http://www.google.com/ig/cp. It is great because it allows me to get phone-friendly RSS-like feeds from many sites, and also search my gmail account from my phone. Highly recommended.
posted by blahblahblah at 8:37 AM on May 1, 2007


Great. I have been using the beta and now I have to rebuild my home page. It's been reset.

Though it is rather handy, eh?
posted by peewinkle at 8:38 AM on May 1, 2007


i-rritating name, no doubt.
posted by Mister_A at 8:38 AM on May 1, 2007


So the news is that they've come out of beta? I've had a personalized Google home page for, like, ever. With all the widgets and stuff.

I'm not really understanding how or why this is interesting news and no, I'm not trying to be snarky.
posted by fenriq at 8:41 AM on May 1, 2007


"For the first time since 1997, I have a home page that's not about:blank"

That seems odd. I've just been using the regular Google page for as long as I can remember. What would be the reasoning behind using about:blank ?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 8:42 AM on May 1, 2007


I could only imagine the ads that came out of a Google/Apple merger.

'Hi, I'm the Google Algorithm"
"And I'm the Yahoo! Algorithm"

"Hey, what you got there, Yahoo?"
"Oh, this? It's a new server. Yeah, finally had to upgrade."
"Really? Congratulations."
"Yeah, we hit our 10,000th user."
"Wow, for the day?"
"No, just overall."
"Oh. Well, good luck with that."
"Thanks."
posted by lesseffective at 8:46 AM on May 1, 2007


I use about:blank because I don't always want to search Google right off the bat. In fact, I rarely want to search Google first thing. That plus a bookmark smart keyword means I haven't hit Google's main page in probably four years.
posted by Plutor at 8:52 AM on May 1, 2007


Okay, it worked fine for me for an hour or two. Then I signed off for a bit, signed back on, and all my custom stuff WAS GONE. Back to Netvibes I go for now.
posted by Dr-Baa at 8:53 AM on May 1, 2007


Google has more bandwidth than any other site providing a similar service. That means my homepage loads fast and doesn't lag out my browser upon opening it.
posted by hellphish at 8:54 AM on May 1, 2007


BEST WIDGET IS FUNNY CAT PHOTOS!!11

Seriously, I've been using this for months, but just started using it consistently after they added the themes. Like batmonkey, I enjoy the window into another brighter, more cheerful world. (Although I go for the beach. Sorry little fox.) I also get a big kick out of the to-do list option, although it's really buggy, so my to-do lists keep getting erased. Oh well. And the sticky note widget is really cool too. I can leave mean notes for myself like "STOP PLAYING WITH iGOOGLE AND DO SOME WORK FOR A CHANGE!".

BUT....Why did they have to name it iGoogle? It almost seems like sort of sophisticated self-mockery.
posted by crackingdes at 8:55 AM on May 1, 2007


I wish they had just done my.google.com.
posted by smackfu at 8:55 AM on May 1, 2007


This is a poor copy of my Yahoo, which I stopped using five years ago. Also, this is a pathetic imitation of windows live, which has been up for about a year.

But I guess because it's google and the webcelebrity brat pack owns google stock, we're supposed to love it and use it.

Here's to hoping that Microsoft builds in an adblocker in IE 8.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:56 AM on May 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've been using this for some time, and I've been using it much like I used to use Excite's old portal service. I had an @excite email address, the front page provided information about new emails on that account, there were some other services I don't recall distinctly. But it was all one login, connecting to a reasonably rich array of content (at least as rich as the default IG page).
posted by Matt Oneiros at 8:58 AM on May 1, 2007


pastabagel: Yet Live Mail is so awful.
posted by boo_radley at 9:00 AM on May 1, 2007


Aw yeah. Love that big whooshing sound as google sucks out all sorts of lovely, profitable marketing info about me. Though I almost caved when I saw that I could subscribe to the Garfield of the Day "gadget".
posted by oneirodynia at 9:00 AM on May 1, 2007


How about sharing some links then.

Because I don't like Pepsi (white or blue) on Mefi. But seeing as how someone else mentioned it Netvibes is a good start.
posted by twistedonion at 9:00 AM on May 1, 2007


Fourthly, and linked with point #1, is that iGoogle isn't an end in itself, like portals were. Google clearly wants this to be a launching point to its other services—a kind of online desktop from which other programs can be launched. Somehow this makes iGoogle less daunting. That was part of the problem with portals—they just took themselves too seriously.
posted by humblepigeon


Fifth, it's just a name change. It's like if google changed gmail to googlemail and you posted that.

Lame. You, not igoogle.
posted by justgary at 9:02 AM on May 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Now that I've seen the "iGoogle" next to the search bar, I am unenthused with that element. Dumb.

Other than that, I'm not really seeing why folks should be outraged about a service with multiple useful tools being mentioned here. Just because it's a product? People FPP products all the time in a non-commercial fashion.

Google Homepage (iGoogle? Come on...so dumb!) is on the web. It's useful. It allows you to add widgets for competing sites/products/feeds. It lets you keep up on the news (and MeFi). It gives developers and script-hobbyists another sandbox to play in.

With all of that, how is it not an element of "Best of the Web"?

Admittedly, it would have been nice if the FPP had mentioned other services doing similar things, for comparison and depth. But that's kind of what the discussion growing from the FPP should be doing, to be honest. It's not "pepsi blue" if you're advocating for services that make using the web better, easier, more useful, and/or more fun. That's meta. As in "MetaFilter".
posted by batmonkey at 9:09 AM on May 1, 2007


I've been using iGoogle for a while now and find it to be very useful. I love the To-Do List widget. "iGoogle" does sound really stupid, but it's better than "Google Homepage," which always reminded me of GeoCities.
posted by katillathehun at 9:14 AM on May 1, 2007


They should have called it "The Google". The thing that strikes me about the Google home page is that it's really really easy to customize, and Joe Web-user will "get" it right away. THere is probably a ton of stuff that you could do with this that most people will never do; but for most, having your e-mail, cat pictures, and a few frequently-used tools in one place is nice. Plus you don't have to be a PhD to figure out how to use it.
posted by Mister_A at 9:18 AM on May 1, 2007


One thing that can be said for Google's approach versus Yahoo or MSN, as well... *no irritating ads* I can't stand the ad-festation of banners, flash boxes, etc. that you find anywhere but Google. They keep it clean.
posted by lesseffective at 9:19 AM on May 1, 2007


Pretend there's no hyphen after frequently, would you?
posted by Mister_A at 9:19 AM on May 1, 2007


twistedonion writes "Because I don't like Pepsi (white or blue) on Mefi."

With that sort of bargepole mentality you must be objecting to any old link on this site. I agree that netvibes looks pretty good. But as this is rather a kind of vacuous post (although, on preview batmonkey makes some points), finding out what other people think are good alternatives might prove to be a useful exercise. I'm always interested to hear what thingamajigs and whatsits people here are using.

Anyway, Eric Schmidt (?sp) is on Apple's board. iGoogle is his way of showing solidarity.
posted by peacay at 9:20 AM on May 1, 2007


Admittedly, it would have been nice if the FPP had mentioned other services doing similar things, for comparison and depth. But that's kind of what the discussion growing from the FPP should be doing, to be honest.

It's been done before

And a post about Google's personalised homepage is a double even if it is out of iBeta.

It's been a rough day, sorry for the grumpyness but a post about something that has been about for ages now is not best of the web
posted by twistedonion at 9:20 AM on May 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow, they took this out of Beta. I can only get it to save my changes for about 30 seconds at a time. As soon as I try to do anything on the page, it reverts back to the starting point.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:22 AM on May 1, 2007


igoogity igoogity igoogity
posted by casarkos at 9:22 AM on May 1, 2007


With that sort of bargepole mentality you must be objecting to any old link on this site.

i know I know... I'm just a grumpy ass today.
posted by twistedonion at 9:23 AM on May 1, 2007


igoogly
posted by googly at 9:23 AM on May 1, 2007


This is supposed to be out of beta? I'm finding it buggy as hell. My customizations keep getting reverted when I add new content.
posted by mauglir at 9:25 AM on May 1, 2007


I like it.
posted by gaspode at 9:25 AM on May 1, 2007


I USED TO have Google set up as my homepage. I noticed it said "iGoogle" this morning. Then all my settings vanished and I'm back to a blank starter page. Anyone else who had Google as their homepage get this same thing happening?
posted by Doohickie at 9:29 AM on May 1, 2007


iMoogly. All my stuffs got deleted, just like doohickey. You suck, google.
posted by boo_radley at 9:31 AM on May 1, 2007


yeah, i flagged this as a double.
posted by shmegegge at 9:37 AM on May 1, 2007


My favourite part is the theme. I know, it's silly and absolutely useless, but my workday is definitely brightened knowing the ladybug and the frog are happily playing on a slip & slide whilst I slave away on spreadsheets. Or that the fox is busy gathering fruit for his lunch. Dang that busy little fox, he shames me with his fruitfulness.


I totally agree. The zen fox and his bento box meals make me very calm. I want to move in with him in his little tea house and help him gather oranges or whatever those are.
posted by Mid at 9:37 AM on May 1, 2007


mr_crash_davis writes "I've just been using the regular Google page for as long as I can remember. What would be the reasoning behind using about:blank ?"

I use Firefox, so I just google stuff from the search bar up in the corner. And I read all my regular sites via the Sage RSS feeder extension, which sits in the sidebar. That leaves me with nothing particular to put on the Home page. It's not so much that I use about:blank for anything, as there's nothing I'd want to see every time I start the browser that isn't already accessed elsewhere.
posted by Bugbread at 9:37 AM on May 1, 2007


I can't stand the ad-festation of banners, flash boxes, etc. that you find anywhere but Google. They keep it clean.

Fortunately for Google, they already own the rest of the web and don't need ads on the homepage. All you do is type in something in the search box and Google makes some $$
posted by 2shay at 9:37 AM on May 1, 2007


Thanks twistedonion. This is the main link out of that January post with a big list of start pages and short blurbs about each, although the list is a year old.
posted by peacay at 9:38 AM on May 1, 2007


Metafilter: the webcelebrity brat pack
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:39 AM on May 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


The make your own widgets thing is a lot less impressive than I thought it would be... basically a wizard to add content to several common gadget types, rather than to allow you to build any new types of gadget.
posted by Artw at 9:41 AM on May 1, 2007


Huh...

My.yahoo.com has been pissing me off as of late. So I'll give iGoogle a try...

...

...How is this ANY different from My.Yahoo, which I've been using for years?

*shrug*

Is this gonna be like the old PC vs Mac debates? Where we start fighting over whether Yahoo or Google is better? Cuz I still got bruises and scars from the PC Mac wars.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:46 AM on May 1, 2007


It's called iGoogle because it's an Internet Google - as opposed to regular Google, which is a standalone, unconnected, bricks and mortar operation with no Internet presence.
posted by QuietDesperation at 9:51 AM on May 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


ZachsMind.... I think you've nailed it; it's really not much different from other portals. But it served my needs nicely.... until they erased all my settings. It shows me as logged in but all my customizations are gone.

I hope they magically show up again in a few hours, but who knows?
posted by Doohickie at 9:56 AM on May 1, 2007


Well, it does vibrate, I'll give it that. Or should I say "iBrate"?
posted by Mister_A at 9:59 AM on May 1, 2007


I'm just happy that I'm not the only one calmed by the lame themes. The beach theme makes me feel pretty zen, and sometimes at night (cause the sun rises and sets based on my zip code) a sea monster pops up in the background.
posted by Roman Graves at 10:00 AM on May 1, 2007


Also, this is a pathetic imitation of windows live, which has been up for about a year.

Google Homepage/iGoogle/whatever-you-want-to-call-it has been around since May 2005. Windows Live didn't come around for another couple of months.
posted by Venadium at 10:01 AM on May 1, 2007


Er, maybe it's because I'm signed in, but live.com doesn't show me any ads either. Frankly, google makes it slightly more obvious how to customize (and is not necessarily as anemic in its [wi/ga]dget offerings) but yeah... ssdd.

Although I hate Live's feed preview mechanism, but also hate Google's insistence that I want three columns.
posted by abulafa at 10:07 AM on May 1, 2007


If iWas Steve Jobs, iWould sue.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:12 AM on May 1, 2007


Unlike iGoogle and this turgid post, Netvibes continues to rock this bitch.
posted by prostyle at 10:15 AM on May 1, 2007


Yeah, I like the beach theme too. I just wish it would remember I selected that a few weeks ago :/
posted by Doohickie at 10:17 AM on May 1, 2007


sometimes at night (cause the sun rises and sets based on my zip code) a sea monster pops up in the background.
If I remember this right, the little easter egg thingys happen at 3:14 am.

I didn't loose any of my personal settings. I don't know what's up with that.

On preview - I'm not nuts about the three columns thing either. I'd love the option of two (or four), or even being able to control column width.
posted by Karmakaze at 10:35 AM on May 1, 2007


Well, I checked, and it looks like Excite! not only continues to exist, but still claims to be "the leading personalization Web portal." Let's hope this "Google" manages to catch up.
posted by washburn at 10:41 AM on May 1, 2007


There's a sea monster in the "beach" theme? I've been using the beach theme for weeks and never saw it. In fact I was getting a little bored with it, so based on comments here I just switched to the "seasonal" one, and now Mr. Frog and Mr. Ladybug are happily munching on a picnic.

I had no loss of settings today with the "iGoogle." It asked me to re-enter my password to see my email, but it does that every 2 weeks. All my custom widgety things are still there just fine. (Although for some reason, the Google Calendar widget does not display my events or agenda from my work computer, but does on my home computer. Odd.)

I used to use MyYahoo, and the only thing I liked better at Yahoo was the TV listings for specific favorite channels, and the movie listings where I could specify my favorite theaters. Google's movies only goes by zipcode, and it happens that my favorite theaters end up way down on the list, which is annoying.
posted by dnash at 10:56 AM on May 1, 2007


I just wish there was a way of getting rid of the google search bar at the top... any offers?
posted by algreer at 10:59 AM on May 1, 2007


Sorry, Netvibes still kicks the crap out of it.

That seems odd. I've just been using the regular Google page for as long as I can remember. What would be the reasoning behind using about:blank ?

Why give more usage data to Google? Assuming that the plain Google Search Page is accessed via browser home pages 3/4 of the time (as opposed to explicitly navigating there), it's not that hard to extrapolate individual user activity on the internet.
posted by mkultra at 11:02 AM on May 1, 2007


I sure hope it doesn't become an "iGoogle" (agh! I hate even typing that!) vs. everyone else war, either.

Rather, I hope it becomes about personal preference and what works best - both are majorly subjective, so more choices = yay. I was hoping to see other choices highlighted here, or ideas for maximising the use of the Google thingie. Instead, there's lots of arguing. Bah.

My Google Homepage has been in place for so long that I can't actually remember when I set it up. I moved everything around and switched out some modules a couple of months ago, and none of my preferences were re-set. What browser are you folks with set-up persistence issues using?
posted by batmonkey at 11:09 AM on May 1, 2007


I'm not sure this is a set-up persistence issue I'm experiencing. Rather, I think my Google homepage preference data has been lost. I mean, it comes up like I'm a brand new user.

I may set up up, but I might also look around at the other homepage/portal sites and see if there's anything else worth trying. I mean, if they're gonna make me set up my homepage all over again, why shouldn't I shop around? I was content with Google, but since they're forcing me into extra work, I might see if I can do better.
posted by Doohickie at 11:16 AM on May 1, 2007


so, if i have a mac, and i have widgets on that already... what exactly would prompt me to use this? portability? i can't really think of anything new that this offers. it's still my homepage, but only because google has always been my homepage.
posted by timory at 11:27 AM on May 1, 2007


so, if i have a mac, and i have widgets on that already... what exactly would prompt me to use this? portability? i can't really think of anything new that this offers. it's still my homepage, but only because google has always been my homepage.

It's there when you start your browser, if you set it as your home page. Add in your Google services, like Gmail, or Calendar, and it's just a nifty and efficient way to check on stuff. I've added an eBay checker, and a Metafilter RSS feed... It's not that I'm in a rush, but it just saves effort.

FWIW, although I love Dashboard, I never use it. I thought I would but I just don't.
posted by humblepigeon at 11:46 AM on May 1, 2007


It's especially good if you use multiple (e.g. home/work) computers.
posted by mkultra at 11:48 AM on May 1, 2007


I've just been using the regular Google page for as long as I can remember. What would be the reasoning behind using about:blank ?

It's because I manually type addresses (well, I type the first few letters and have them autocomplete).

If I choose a site as my home page, Safari (or Firefox) spends a few seconds upon startup getting the site, including entering the URL into the address bar. Sometimes I start typing into the new address bar, and then my typing is deleted by the address of the home page. Or my cursor is stolen and placed into the web page's text field, if it's Google. If I actually want to search using the home page, I have to wait for the page to complete loading.

So I set the home page to about:blank. But not any longer.
posted by humblepigeon at 11:50 AM on May 1, 2007


My.yahoo.com has been pissing me off as of late. So I'll give iGoogle a try...

Indeed, I was pretty happy to find Personalized Google, a.k.a. iGoogle. I used My Yahoo, oh, you know, ten years ago, when it was new and interesting, and not yet entirely being whored out to anyone and everyone that Yahoo! could sleep with. The SCB/AT&T deal that permanently mangled My Yahoo! for me was pretty much the beginning of my end with using Yahoo services. Pile their scrapping of Flickr non-Yahoo accounts on to that, and the Microsoftian glassy-eyed "We're gonna change the WORLD!" (...and YOU'LL LIKE IT!) freakish optimism of their employees... well, let's just say they drove me to Google! ;)


How is this ANY different from My.Yahoo, which I've been using for years?

Because it's not Yahoo! YEY! Well, that and nice integration with Gmail, Gcal, and Notebook, among other things. Plus, the cute little fox theme was the only way I could get my spouse interested in the various collaborative tools that are very useful for people who need shared calendars and shared bookmarking for planning and research purposes. The only thing I MISS from My Yahoo is the lowest airfare box.


Is this gonna be like the old PC vs Mac debates? Where we start fighting over whether Yahoo or Google is better? Cuz I still got bruises and scars from the PC Mac wars.

Hm. Maybe it's more like the X vs Y debate, where X is one side and Y is the other side and each side has a set of vociferous and loyal supporters that want to push the other side off the nearest bluff. I hate those Y people soooo much!
posted by smallerdemon at 11:53 AM on May 1, 2007


Netvibes is so far ahead of this iGoogle thing it's not funny. Example one - hover read.
posted by Duug at 12:00 PM on May 1, 2007


Is iGoogle something like YouTube launching Active Share in its intention to observe who wants what?
posted by nickyskye at 12:00 PM on May 1, 2007


I have been using this for a few months, and especially enjoy the ability create tabs and that fact that I can add a module for any damn thing I want.
posted by LarryC at 12:09 PM on May 1, 2007


Everything came back. I started to look at the content, and added the bookmarks, and just adding the gadget brought my old bookmarks all back.

Then, I was looking at other content. I added a few new things, and *poof*, it went back to the old desktop (sans the new stuff). Whether I caused it by messing with my bookmarks, or it just came back on its own, I don't know.
posted by Doohickie at 12:30 PM on May 1, 2007


I've been using the personalized Google page for several months, and I'm mostly happy with it. It's clean, integrates all the Google services I use, and it's continually being improved.

But heck, I hate the name iGoogle. That lowercase "i" says stale and Apple wannabe to me. The iGoogle logo is equally cheap and ugly looking. Too bad on the name, 'cause I'm definitely a Google fangirl!
posted by exquisite_deluxe at 12:41 PM on May 1, 2007


I'm not hung up enough on the name to worry about that kind of stuff.
posted by Doohickie at 12:46 PM on May 1, 2007


Remember when focus groups would get paid for their feedback?
posted by interrobang at 12:50 PM on May 1, 2007


humblepigeon writes "Sometimes I start typing into the new address bar, and then my typing is deleted by the address of the home page."

It's been so long since I had something other than about:blank that I'd forgotten about that, but, yeah. Typing in a page you want to see, only to have it obliterated by the Home page you've set, sucks. If I had a page I always wanted to see, don't get me wrong, I'd save more time than I lost. But since there isn't a page I always want to start with, setting one (Google or otherwise) loses me more time than it gains me.
posted by Bugbread at 12:55 PM on May 1, 2007


I just fiddled around with this for a bit and I realized that I really, really don't like white backgrounds anymore. They hurt my eyes! I think Metafilter will be my home page from now on. All I need, really, is the date and time. Look! They're right there in the upper right corner in a lovely shade of yellow!

Need a random cat? Look in to the archives. Maybe a little more work, maybe a cool poem or comic isn't delivered to me right at the start but if I do a little scrolling it can be found on Metafilter! And it's randomly delicious!
posted by Mister Cheese at 1:04 PM on May 1, 2007


I used to use about:blank until I switched to firefox, then I used about:mozilla and then I switched to my departments ticket tracking home page and then I switched to firefox start, Webmail, Craigslist, and gmail in all tabs. The firefox start I think is starting to annoy me, so Ill go back to about:mozilla on that tab. Most of the time, since I force reboot my machine, I usually just restore session anyway, so I never even see my home pages.

The thinking behind that is since its loading a blank page from your local machine, it doesnt take any time to load or hijack your cursor or typing, so Its fastest for me...
posted by subaruwrx at 1:20 PM on May 1, 2007


Whats wrong with white backgrounds? Its so web 1.0... Its retro
posted by subaruwrx at 1:21 PM on May 1, 2007


I read MeFi in the "plain" theme, which has a white background. I can't deal with the blue.
posted by mkultra at 2:11 PM on May 1, 2007


On the flipside of things, Yahoo has had this going on for some time.

And I can remember how many people used to (and still) say "oh, I use Google because the Yahoo interface is so cluttered", but don't use the uncluttered Yahoo interface at search.yahoo.com -- and now those same people will say "oh, look at Google's great new portal page hoohah" having ignored the similar setup at my.yahoo.com for years. I'm sure MSN et al have the same kind of deal going.

Fanboy-ism is fanboy-ism no matter whose team you're on. Meanwhile I'll just keep on using a blank home page, and surfing to the page (and provider) I need when I need it, thanks.
posted by davejay at 2:16 PM on May 1, 2007


davejay - never heard of it before.

/goes back to ignoring it.
posted by Artw at 2:24 PM on May 1, 2007


I like it. I like the tabs and I like that when I add content it's automatically sorted into the right tab. Thanks for the heads up.
posted by LeeJay at 2:47 PM on May 1, 2007


pardonyou?: They should have made it more obvious, but you can add the Google Reader widget.
posted by zakj at 3:36 PM on May 1, 2007


Have a look at Google Co-op. This seems to be new too, unless I've missed the memo. It's amazing. You can feed it your favourite websites and it will restrict the search to them. I have a list of about 80 education websites which I periodically trawl for resources, now I can search them all, and only them, from a single interface. It works incredibly well. I'm bowled over.
posted by grahamwell at 3:53 PM on May 1, 2007


this is silly, but i really like the dynamically-changing themes. that freaking teahouse fox is so cute.
posted by timory at 3:53 PM on May 1, 2007


Well, so much for this:

Interview: Marissa Mayer, Product Manager, Google
by Mark Hurst
October 15, 2002


Q: Can you say that you'd never go above, say, 20 links on the home page?

We can't say never. But I'll say that we'll be cautious. We have some idea of where our design can scale. Can we have a two-line footer? Maybe in the future. But generally we want to keep it sparse.

There's this one user, a Google zealot - we don't know who he is - who occasionally sends an e-mail to our "comments" address. Every time he writes, the e-mail contains only a two-digit number. It took us awhile to figure out what he was doing. Turns out he's counting the number of words on the home page. When the number goes up, like up to 52, it gets him irritated, and he e-mails us the new word count. As crazy as it sounds, his e-mails are helpful, because it has put an interesting discipline on the UI team, so as not to introduce too many links. It's like a scale that tells you that you've gained two pounds.

I hope that Google will still be here in 20 years. I don't know what the Google home page will look like that on that day. Maybe most of our users will be wearing computers, and will have a different interface to information and technology. Or there may be other mediums that we support. Like the Google news search [which just launched], news as a medium is different from search. We can't have a news home page that's so sparse that it doesn't have the news on it. We can't just have a search form, and ask users to guess the news.
posted by Muddler at 3:54 PM on May 1, 2007


Their How To of the Day really confused me:

How to Read a Screw Thread Callout

I figured it had to be some kind of Metatalk user guide.

Sadly, it was not.
posted by quin at 4:28 PM on May 1, 2007


based on comments here I just switched to the "seasonal" one, and now Mr. Frog and Mr. Ladybug are happily munching on a picnic.

No, no, that's way too juvenile. You want the zen fox in the "Tea House" theme.
posted by Mid at 4:46 PM on May 1, 2007


Google sucks so bad at most everything they've homegrown, does things so late in the game and so poorly, it's embarrassing.

Search is good. Gmail is good. News is good. Their feedreader was laughable, but is actually pretty good now, even I don't care much for it personally. They make their money on advertising (and have done it well, I suppose, but ad-flogging sucks by nature). Most everything else they've got in their app portfolio that is good, or at least isn't nearly pure suck, they bought (maps, Earth, Picasa, yadda).

iGoogle, eh? Surprisingly lame branding of a relentlessly mediocre service. Ah well, maybe they thought the i- thing was funny. It is, but not in the way they might have intended.

(All that said, I use much of their stuff each and every day, because Yahoo and Microsoft are even worse, along a range of different axes.)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:18 PM on May 1, 2007


But can I make the Google search page background colour be black? Anything but white really..

..then it might be interesting. about:blank ftw!
posted by lundman at 7:34 PM on May 1, 2007


Actually I think one of the things you can add is a utility to change the colors of the page. I had it for a while but then discovered the themes which were designed by people who can pick colors much better than I can.
posted by Doohickie at 8:20 PM on May 1, 2007


Since the netvibes people refuse to say why they think it's better, I googled up a couple comparisons.

It seems to come down to IGs poor RSS support, crappy feedreader, and lack of previewing functionality. Netvibes is also prettier.
posted by !Jim at 9:20 PM on May 1, 2007


The themes are cute, but U.S. only? Why? Why? Why is the fox sleeping when I want him to be fishing (or whatever it is he does), why are the frog and the ladybug sleeping when I want them to be having freaky sex in the woods (or whatever it is they do)... why are my beach and city dark? O, iGoogle, Europe weeps.
posted by taz at 10:21 PM on May 1, 2007


hmmm... maybe not. I have daylight now. Maybe it's just a little funky with figuring out my time zone, since it was showing night scenes at 9 a.m. But I have daylight now, and it's not daytime anywhere in the U.S., so it isn't using a U.S. default. Odd.

Or, maybe one has to actually close and reopen the page before the change takes effect.
posted by taz at 12:08 AM on May 2, 2007


Taz: I live in Japan, and the fox's time zones matched my own. Perhaps it does location matching based off IP address? That would seem to be normal for Google: if I type "www.google.com" on a random work computer, it redirects me to google.co.jp based on my IP address being in Japan (with a link for overriding). Perhaps they're doing the same thing with determining the time zones, and for whatever reason your IP address block's physical location is being misdetermined?
posted by Bugbread at 4:57 AM on May 2, 2007


Hmm... mebbe so. Well, I'll see what it does tonight, and tomorrow morning. On the setup for the themes, it tells you to put in your city and state, or zipcode, so I suspected that it was U.S.-only, so when I put in Athens, Greece (I also tried "Thessaloniki" in case it was just going to recognize "Athens" and get Georgia on it's mind), and it was showing nighttime during my morning, I figured it was defaulting to some U.S. time zone... but later, I changed the theme at some point, then closed the page, and when I opened it again in a new window, it was showing up okay. It's almost 3:30 pm here now, and my fox is rowing, and my frog and ladybug are drinking grape sodas and eating sandwiches. :)
posted by taz at 5:26 AM on May 2, 2007


And I can remember how many people used to (and still) say "oh, I use Google because the Yahoo interface is so cluttered", but don't use the uncluttered Yahoo interface at search.yahoo.com -- and now those same people will say "oh, look at Google's great new portal page hoohah" having ignored the similar setup at my.yahoo.com for years. I'm sure MSN et al have the same kind of deal going.

Hm, that's assuming people, i.e. not people who are you but the rest of the world, can remember "search.yahoo.com". They won't. People care about ease of use and end results. Make it easier to type in and remember than google.com and make the results as good and you might win. Dump "search" on the front, and that's just enough complexity and more information to remember that the majority of people will never bother.

For me it was less that Yahoo was cluttered than it was hijacked by it's own company into being a "media" company.

Google offered simplicity in contrast to Yahoo's new self-created position as media provider. Yahoo was simply making itself into yet another generic portal site no different than MSN's ugly ass front page, AOL's portal, Netscape's portal, blah, blah, blah. And they came across as incredibly old school when it came to technology. They've recently started to change the latter, but the former is still the case. I think the Wired article "How Yahoo Blew It" hits a lot of the nails on the head.

I suspect that the majority of us haven't seen the Google main page in a while anyway. Why should we? Most of use Firefox or the Google Toolbar. We can always search with command-T or just use the toolbar. That comes back to simplicity of use as well. Google was very savvy to get their search engine positioned into Firefox as well as Sarfari. Yahoo is the second one done, sure, but it's the second one, not the default one.
posted by smallerdemon at 7:18 AM on May 2, 2007


how is this better than the excellent pageflakes.com ?
posted by specialk420 at 9:07 PM on May 2, 2007


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