I have to admit that I am a bit biased when it comes to Google. I find their resources easy to use and nicely integrated. So I definitely see some significant advantages in using Google as my homepage. If you use Google docs or gmail or any of the other long list of Google resources, you could easily have access to them all from one place: iGoogle. In fact, I created a how-to article on setting up an iGoogle homepage because of this obvious advantage that Google has over the other sites--plus the fact that it's not likely to go away. Of the four sites, I've used iGoogle the most, so let's look at the pros and cons.
iGoogle - the heavyweight in this contest
- Seamless integration with other Google tools, such as Google docs
- Gadgets seem to be more user friendly and easier to find than those on Netvibes (and certainly better than Symbaloo).
- Gadget directory provides detailed explanations and large screenshots of gadgets
- Users rate and comment on gadgets
- One-click "add it now" buttons quickly add gadgets to your page
- "Bookmark" gadget is great—I like it much better than Netvibes’ version
- Most sites have a one-click "Add to Google" button to subscribe to their site so you don't have to go to your iGoogle page to paste the RSS URL.
- "Pretty" themes--and lots of them--to spice up your homepage
- RSS article titles change color once you view them
- Easily share a gadget or a whole page with a friend--and your friends are probably more likely to have some type of Google account, and that's all you need
- You can minimize gadgets to save space
- Very quick start up. As Google says, "create a homepage in less than 30 seconds"
- On RSS feeds, you can only scan the article title names. You have to click a + to view the first paragraph of the entry. No dates or "last updated" information
(Rating based on personal opinion)
Yep, Google has some pretty smart folks working there to make sure things work together seamlessly. iGoogle would definitely be a good choice for a homepage. If you want to try it out, this short tutorial might help. I hope you'll share your experiences with iGoogle.
But stay tuned for the last in this series. Pageflakes has been patiently waiting in the wings for its turn in the ring.
If you're just jumping in to this series now, you may want to start at the beginning where I talk about what RSS is and the different ways you can subscribe to Web sites that you like to visit frequently. Or just go back to the last few blogs where I talk about one great way to tie everything together--Customizable homepages.