Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
 
Different kinds of news

Quite often when I start an internet browser I want to search for some information. Thus I set my homepage everywhere to be iGoogle, which gives me direct access to the Google search engine, plus all sorts of configurable news: News stories, weather, stock ticker, whatever you need. That works perfectly well, but Google is shutting the service down in November, which is kind of annoying.

Now at first they seemed to suggest that people should use Google+ instead. I'm on Google+ as +Tobold Stoutfoot , and out of Facebook habits I add everybody to my circles that adds me to his. So I can go to Google+ and have some sort of start page with some sort of news on it. But it is absolutely not what I am looking for: Not only is there no Google search box, but the nature of the news on offer is so very different from what I want; like a Facebook wall the "news" consist of the random thoughts of the people I am connected to, things like funny cat photos and whatever else is popular on the internet at the moment.

This sort of "social news" is what social networks are built on: Know what your friends are currently doing, what they are currently thinking or talking about. I am not saying that this has no interest, but it is far away from the less personal, more general news items on an iGoogle page. If you want to know what weather there will be tomorrow, or how your shares stand, you don't want to wait until one of your friends is discussing the subject. You want some gadget giving you that sort of public news, not social news.

The latest development on the subject is that Google plans to bring the Android app "Google Now" on the PC to replace iGoogle, including Siri-like voice search functionality and "cards" for stuff like weather or stocks. As I don't have an Android device I can't say yet how well that will work compared to iGoogle. And there is a risk that this will only be available on Google Chrome, unlike iGoogle which works on any browser.

Anybody know a good personalized homepage website which offers a similar functionality as iGoogle, and works from anywhere with any browser and device without installation?

Comments:
iGoggle was taken down because of lack of interest.

The "what your friends are doing" nonsense isn't created by evil corporations. It's what people want to know.

You just looked into the mind of the "casual RL players" and it seems you don't like it.
 
There is absolutely no correlation between how people play games and what kind of homepage they prefer on their internet browser.
 
Google Now is also available on iOS as a part of the main Google app. It isn't a configurable homepage, it's Google trying to guess what you want based on everything Google knows about you. At best you can tell the service that it provided irrelevant information or decline to provide it with additional information like your current location.

And like with Siri, the main thing preventing it from even working as designed is the US-centric nature of the specialized information it needs. I wouldn't expect it to parse non-English calendar appointments or know about local sports teams.
 
personally I like http://www.ighome.com/
the dex made it to be almost a straight replacement for iGoogle and seems to be working well for me
 
I love igoogle and this change is going to wreck me, much as the closing of MSN Messenger and the shuffling off to the vastly worse Skype has wrecked me.

Losing the free apps that matter a lot to you is always really painful and heartbreaking.

I'll probably try that ighome mentioned come november and I can only hope that it works as well. Certainly looks promising.
 
I am in the exact same boat as you Tobold, and just last week I made the switch to Netvibes. Highly customizable homepage that is about as close to igoogle as I have seen. It'll take you a little while to get it set up the way you want, but so far I have been happy with the result.
 
I use Netvibes for this. The home page is very configurable so you can add feeds or widgets for most of the services you need.

It also has several mobile versions all accessible through your phones standard web browser:
A wap version that is great for phones, Just the text info,
A smart phone version for android/iphones
You can also use the full desktop version on android / iphone - I use this on my android tablet and it works fine.

 
Like titanicus and mbp stated, netvibes.com is a good alternative and should do everything you're looking for. I personally just switched to it as a replacement for google reader and haven't spent a ton of time looking through the "widget" options yet.
 
I got off iGoogle some time ago since Chrome has a nice start page of your most visited sites. I'm not liking this trend Google has of shutting down awesome services... cough.. Reader
 
Here's a list of options:
http://dreamcore.net/google/10-igoogle-replacement-alternative/
 
Netvibes was the closest to iGoogle when i last investigated this. However when iGoogle was announced for shutdown, i realised that all i really used iGoogle for was reading RSS/Newsfeeds. iGoogle just allowed me to place different feeds more prominently.

So instead i just started looking into using my RSs/Newsreader better instead (and making that my homepage). That was google reader, which is now ALSO being shut down.

Then i looked into Google News, which is not bad at all, you can add "feeds" based on search terms, but sadly you couldn't add specific sites. A perfect situation would be for Google News to allow me to add my "custom sources" AND combine it with the search terms method.

Either way, long story short, i had to look for an alternative to both, and i'm now simply using Newsblur , which is a Feedreader, but you can customize it to show you the weather if need be. There's also Feedly, but their current lack of a proper website is not working for me (you need a chrome/firefox plugin to use it) , i hear it's coming though.

I'm still looking for the right combination of "pre-packaged popular news" and "custom personalised news" . So far everyone is either the one or the other. Flipboard on mobile is close, but they relied on Google Reader to bring in your custom news, so we'll see where that goes.
 
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