Google's search engine has become a verb in the same way as 'hoovering' became a synonym for vacuuming and 'xeroxing' meant photocopying. But not everyone wants to put all their data in Google's basket. There are lots of alternatives to Google when it comes to search. Here are a few.
Tagged With start page
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.
43Marks is yet another customisable start page ala iGoogle or Netvibes which includes a prominent search box for Google or Yahoo, category buckets for favourite bookmarks, and boxes to display a handful of RSS feeds. What it doesn't have is the variety of features and widgets iGoogle or My Yahoo offers, but it's just as free with registration—and you don't have to sign in to see your page once it's set up. Of course, that means if someone knows your username, they can check out your homepage, too—so much for adding a "Porn" category. Thanks, SristiCaban!
Firefox only (Windows/Mac/Linux): The Auto Dial Firefox extension automatically places shortcuts to your most frequently visited web sites inside all of your new, empty tabs. Mozilla Labs recently suggested that empty tabs could be put to better use by offering no-cost options for the user (i.e., if what you want isn't what's offered, it doesn't hurt anything). Although not as inspired as the undeveloped concept at Mozilla Labs, Auto Dial fits perfectly with this idea. If you want more control over the content built in to new tabs, check out the previously mentioned Speed Dial extension. Auto Dial is free, works wherever Firefox does.
Opera 9.5, the latest edition of the free (and pretty speedy) web browser, doesn't make it readily apparent how to set its multi-page Speed Dial function as your start page. The How-To Geek points out that by setting your "Startup" to "Blank Page" in Tools->Preferences, and then heading to Advanced->Tabs->Additional tab options to un-check "Allow window with no tabs," you're good to go. This somewhat disables auto-starting with your last session's tabs, but for Speed Dial fans, it's a handy hack. While you're tweaking Opera, try adding more sites to Speed Dial. Update: A watchful Mac/Opera user notes that the trick appears Windows only—any Mac users out there know which settings to tweak? Set the Speed Dial as the Opera Startup Page
Whether you use it to keep up to date on the latest news or as a launching point for the rest of your browsing, you want to find a solid start page to fit your surfing habits. Earlier this week, we asked to share your favourite start page, and at over 350 comments later, we're rounding up the five most popular answers. Hit the jump for an overview of each.
Want to mix up your browser-opening experience by rotating your home page? WhatPage.org, a free service with seemingly no ads or restrictions, lets you paste any site into a list that can hold more than 100, and provides a custom URL to set your home page to. Open your browser and hit home, and one of your pages opens. You control the numbered rotation of the pages, and can re-order at any time. As the site points out, it can also turn your home button into a favourite site click-browser. It's a great free service, but let's guess that our readers have their own solutions for rotating a home page—so let's hear them in the comments. Thanks Mike! what page
Lifehacker reader and TiddlyWiki enthusiast Fraser has written up a guide that takes the idea of cut-and-paste Outlook Today customising to the next logical (or at least Lifehacker-friendly) conclusion—integrating a TiddlyWiki to-do list and notebook into Outlook. Combine the easy-to-edit power of a personal wiki with the at-a-glance inbox and task information from Outlook, and you've got a powerful start page indeed. For a primer on getting things done with a TiddlyWiki, check out guest-poster Jason Thomas' GTDTiddlyWiki walkthrough. (Original Outlook Today post).
Your plain vanilla "Outlook Today" screen could be doing a whole lot more for you, especially if you aren't afraid of a little HTML or can get handy with a free page creator. Even if hand-coding's not your thing, the Tech-Recipes blog offers the big blocks of dense code that let you put your inbox, calendar, tasks, and whatever else anywhere you want on a page, leaving room for other stuff you might find useful. Feel free to mess around to your heart's content, because it's also un-doable with less than two clicks. Creating Your Own Outlook Today Page
Google doesn't offer a drag-and-drop method of reordering the tabs on your personalised iGoogle page, but you can manually move the tabs using an XML backup tool provided on the settings page. The basic trick should be pretty simple to anyone who's edited web code before, but Google Blogoscoped has a thorough explanation of what you're looking for and what to move. It's also worth a spin just to grab a copy of your iGoogle XML data, which you can restore at any time if that new experimental gadget takes over your whole page (which has been known to happen on occasion). Tip: How to Reorder iGoogle Tabs
The Google Operating System points out an overlooked but seriously worthy iGoogle gadget that can display entire up-to-date web pages inside a tab on Google's start page service. You might have seen this trick deep inside our Show Us Your iGoogle gallery, but it deserves its own spotlight here. You'll want to create a new tab for each web page you want to embed, and make sure that tab is selected before clicking the "Add to Google" link on creator Michael Bolin's page. Best of all, dynamic web apps seem to work fine inside the tabs, giving you access to Gmail, Google Reader, Remember the Milk, or any other of your favourites, right from your point of browser entry. Got your own embedded page timesavers on your start page, Google or otherwise? Share your sites in the comments. Your Page Here (an iGoogle gadget)
As seen in our iGoogle show and tell in June, personalised Google start pages can be both useful and highly customised. The folks at Google have opened the door to far more customisation and choice with the launch of an iGoogle Themes directory, as well as a guide for designing your own theme. A few new themes are already present in the directory, but many more are likely just around the corner. Those unsatisfied with the picks so far can always check out the iGoogle Skins gadget for a little DIY theming.
iGoogle Themes Directory
At this point in the Personalised Homepage Wars of 2007, you've probably compared the major contenders and either chosen a victor or gone an alternate route. Yet semi-recent newcomer Symbaloo is bravely charging into the fray, and it's got a bit of ammunition to use. Most noticeably, the layout is designed for maximum customisation, letting you arrange links to searches, RSS feeds and external sites however you'd like. Like iGoogle and others, you can create multiple desktop spaces, and each default box gives you a seemingly non-biased choice among search providers. And while not entirely efficient, the "news" desktop's photo-based spread of top stories is pretty snazzy. Have you stopped even considering a start page switch at this point, or are you still open to suggestions? Let's hear your thoughts in the comments. Thanks Pieter!
Multi-platform browser Opera has released v9.50 Alpha which extends its support for BitTorrent by adding a uTorrent compatible Peer Exchange feature. This will hopefully speed up transfers and reduce tracker load
I'll emphasise again that it's an ALPHA release - and I'm not an alpha girl at all - in fact I'm even a reluctant Beta user - so I'm not going there. Play wisely, and make sure you're backed up. :)
The Windows version is downloadable here.
The Linux versions are here.
"With proprietary operating systems increasingly designed to restrict and control the user, with digital 'restrictions' management, their users are subjugated even more now than before. If you don't want chains on you hand and foot, your only escape is to switch to a free operating system."—Richard Stallman
Search engine Youlicit calculates the popularity of search results based on user votes rather than web site links. Call it a social bookmark tool if you will: search by URL or key phrase, and related sites ranked by Youlicit users appear. To get in on the voting yourself, install a Firefox extension for recommending sites (registration required) almost like StumbleUpon. Even though it's still in beta, Youlicit did well in initial tests, listing Hackszine.com, 43Folders.com and lifehack.org as Lifehacker's related sites.
Get more mileage out of your stored food with proper storage techniques from Gomestic, a domestic hacks site. For instance, if you store your fruits and vegetables separately, they won't ripen as fast because they're not sharing ethylene, a gas that speeds ripening. Oh, and if you use your own packaging (zip lock bags, vacuum sealed) instead of the store packaging for your meat, it will definitely last longer in the freezer - and with less freezer burn. What are your best food storage tips? Let's hear them in the comments.
How to Store Your Food So It Lasts Longer