Find your ideal iGoogle alternative start page…
Following the sad demise of iGoogle (and previous to that, Google Desktop) several alternatives have surfaced to try and fill the void.
What most iGoogle advocates want to see in an alternative site is a homepage that has a similar look and feel to that of iGoogle, matched with its range of gadgets - and by that we mean the actual gadgets found on iGoogle and Google Desktop - not imitations, and theme images that inspire us whether relaxing in the home or office.
We also want a personal homepage (aka startpage) that's clean and clear and ad-free - exactly as it should be. The site should provide thousands of gadgets to choose from, all conveniently divided into categories, together with vibrant and engaging themes.
Let's look at some of the options available today.
First on our list of sites to review was Protopage. It is fairly user-friendly and provides a number of preset RSS feed gadgets from its fly-out menu. You can customize your homepage with tabs and color settings. However, it does lack true iGoogle-style gadgets and theme pictures. We struggled to find a full gadget library and the styling is very different to iGoogle. Theme colors and some imagery is available to registered users.
For those of you who's interests include PC & Mac or video games, we highly recommend GameSoft. The site has the look and feel of iGoogle but with a gaming take that's compelling and vibrant. The site provides thousands of cool gadgets and themes and many online games to play too. The site features game news and game reviews covering all major gaming platforms including Xbox One, Xbox360, Nintendo Wii, Sony Playstation 3 & 4. If you want to play games online and catch up the latest gaming news then be sure to give it a try.
If your interests lie with business applications and news, then consider Netvibes. It's a little complicated at first to set-up and get used to but does have a good feature set with its own custom widgets and RSS feeds. In the words of Netvibes… "For agencies and publishers, Netvibes' universal widget technology (UWA), widget distribution services and Premium Dashboards help rapidly deliver brand observation rooms and user-personalized marketing campaigns. For companies, Netvibes Enterprise delivers secure, scalable personalized workspaces, portals and industry dashboards."
We found the most impressive and "true to iGoogle" alternative site, using iGoogle gadgets and themes, was BlueG. Straight away its evident the user interface is clean and clear and with a look and feel that made us almost believe iGoogle was back for good! It comprises thousands of gadgets all helpfully categorised e.g. Tools, Fun & Games, Communication etc. We were also quickly able to locate and apply our favorite iGoogle background themes, generally we found the theme library to be very impressive with vibrant and colorful images to choose from. If you have other interests in subjects such as music, entertainment, sport or fashion, the channel pages will keep you occupied with live news updates.