Now that Google is shutting down its iGoogle personalised start page, we need a replacement. igHome might be the closest thing to iGoogle so far.
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When Google controversially decided to kill off its customisable iGoogle home page, it at least gave enthusiastic users of the site up until November 2013 until to get used to the change. However, that isn't the case for the mobile version, which got switched off on July 31 this year.
Dear Lifehacker, I'm an older internet user and very dependent on my iGoogle. Is there any way to petition those idiots to save it rather than cancel it? What? They can't afford to keep it? Seriously. I'm old. And I don't have time to learn new stuff. Thanks, First World Problem
Google may be shutting down the super-customisable iGoogle start page, but that doesn't mean you're stuck without your daily dose of news and other widgets. Here are two great alternatives to iGoogle that you can use as your new do-anything start page.
The latest casualty in Google's ongoing wave of product closures: iGoogle. Google has announced that it will shut down the customised home page option on November 1, 2013.
We pointed to an iGoogle interface for Google's Tasks to-do manager yesterday that gave users a pretty big view inside their custom home page. Want a totally full-size Tasks view without launching iGoogle? Bookmark the "Canvas view" page.
Setting Gmail to always use a secure connection (connecting with https://) is a good idea for many reasons, but doing so had, for a long time, prevented users of Google's customised iGoogle pages from accessing their Gmail.
Earlier this year Google added the chat sidebar to iGoogle, which gave you Gmail-style chat in your iGoogle start page. Now they've expanded the chat functionality to include video chat right from the main iGoogle interface.
You can already access surf conditions tracking site Coastalwatch via the web or on your mobile phone. Now there's an iGoogle gadget to let you seek out the perfect wave on your home page.
iGoogle, the Google start page loaded with gadgets and data, is a nice way to get started with RSS feeds. When it's time to upgrade to full-fledged feed reading, iGoogle users have two roads they can go down.
Google's start page is rolling out a sidebar chat tool, which uses Gmail users' existing chat settings if they have them but can also chat between iGoogle users without Gmail (all 12 of them?) We kid, we kid. iGoogle's chat works almost exactly like Gmail, offering the same status options, providing mouse-over details on contacts and quick links to email, chat, and choose their appearance frequency in your list. If you want to invite a non-Gmail friend to chat, you can do that from the "Add friends" link—they'll have to sign up for iGoogle, but after that, you're both inside Google Talk/Chat. The two noticeable drawbacks to iGoogle chat are the lack of Gmail's AIM support, and no pop-out options for the chat windows that pop up from the lower-right corner. If you use iGoogle to get things done and don't want any chats, you can sign out and minimise the chat bar to a single line. It's a US-English-only thing for now, but "coming soon" for other languages and countries. Does Google Talk make your iGoogle page a better all-in-one home page, or is it feature overload? What features would you like to see installed? Trade your takes in the comments.
Google Maps has added a friend-finding, location-aware feature for mobile phones and iGoogle that tells selected friends and contacts where you are, updates through Google Talk, and claims lots of privacy features. Head to google.com/latitude from your Android, Blackberry, Symbian S60, or Windows Mobile phone, or in your desktop browser, to activate Latitude (iPhone support is on the way, the big G says). Both mobile phones running the Latitude app and browser with Google Gears installed can automatically update your location using Maps' My Location feature, but you can set up, contact-by-contact, who sees your live updates, who doesn't, and even set up status messages for individuals—so, perhaps, the boss only sees that you're at your desk, nowhere else, not even thinking about sneaking out for coffee. The app and iGoogle gadget launch today with availability in 27 countries and 42 languages. Check out an overview of how Latitude works, and its privacy features, in this video:
A week after it was originally announced, Google rolls out a tool to "create iGoogle themes." It can't do everything we'd hope for, but check out what you can accomplish in the screenshots below.
Google Operating System runs down how to get rid of the intrusive and slow to load chat box that sometimes appears on Google's customised iGoogle pages (I can't say it's showed up on mine). It's a slightly fiddly fix (involving editing XML files), but worth it if you don't want screen clutter or have to work with a slow connection. How to Remove iGoogle's Chat Box