July 7, 2012

iGoogle being shuttered by Google in November 2013; my suggested alternatives

iGoogle being shuttered by Google in November 2013; my suggested alternatives

GoogleGoogle reported this week that they’ll be shutting down some less-popular Google services. Among the services to be shuttered include iGoogle, a customizable portal page that one could fill with news feeds, calendars, sports scores, etc. iGoogle is scheduled to be shut down on November 1, 2013.

While portal pages were more popular about 10 years ago, some, including Google, feel they’re now outdated, with the rise of other online services. However, some of us, including myself, still use portal pages as a default browser home page. A page of custom news feeds is a useful at-a-glance news source, especially with a wide range of news sources available (versus merely making the local newspaper or NPR the default). iGoogle also supported a customizable comic strips page, which was particularly useful with the Houston Chronicle’s online edition no longer offering such a service.

There’s also my suspicion that Google probably figures users can replace iGoogle with Google+ or Chrome (with some plugins). I suppose that’s possible, though it seems like it’d be a kludgy solution. Google+ would be overkill, while Chrome would be tied to a specific browser.

Since others online seem interested in replacements for iGoogle, I thought I’d list a few possible replacements:

My Yahoo

My Yahoo was probably the original web portal page, and until iGoogle came along the most popular. Run by Yahoo, it performs the same functions as iGoogle—offer news feeds (its strongest point), movie listings, sports scores, weather, etc. One downside (besides Yahoo’s own uncertain future) is My Yahoo’s interface isn’t as clean looking as iGoogle’s.

My Yahoo is what I’ve used for years as a default home page, going all the way back to the the pre-Google-dominance 90s. I moved to iGoogle a few years ago, but could always go back to My Yahoo.

Netvibes

Netvibes is a third-party service that allows users to set up a free customizable page that can host various news feeds, RSS feeds, daily comic strips, etc. from various sources. As such, it can replicate much of the functionality of iGoogle, while offering a cleaner looking interface than My Yahoo.

Netvibes seems to work well enough for the page I created, and is what I’m currently trying out as a default home page.

Darkgate Comic Slurper

Since the shut down of the Houston Chronicle’s customizable comic strips page, I’ve been using iGoogle’s comics widgets for most of my comic strip reading. I’ve recently learned of another, more encompassing source (though unofficial) for reading comic strips online, Darkgate Comic Slurper.

To use Darkgate, one selects which comic strips one wants to read; Darkgate then displays a bookmarkable page of each day’s new strips. There’s also an option of using the RSS feed generated to read the comics through My Yahoo or Netvibes (though the latter handles the comic strips better than the former). Darkgate also pulls strips from a wider variety of sources than iGoogle does, though a few strips (such as “Edge City“) aren’t offered.

What do you use for a default home page? If iGoogle, what do you plan on replacing it with?

Tags: GoogleiGoogleMy YahooNetvibesTechYahoo