The customizable home page iGoogle will be riding off into the sunset on November 1, yet another experimental service that Google has decided to shut down. Featuring a Google search bar, support for RSS feed reading, numerous gadgets for things like weather, traffic maps, and more, iGoogle let users easily build and configure their own home page. Devotees need not fret, though, as there are numerous alternatives out there. Here's our 10 favorite iGoogle alternatives.
Easily the most iGoogle-like of the alternatives out there, igHome provides support for RSS readers and gadgets, and features an interface that closely mimics iGoogle's own, right down to a black bar on top that links to various Google services. The preferences even include an option to import some iGoogle settings. Users can add RSS or gadget tiles, and then drag and drop them around the home page for their own personal layout. Customizable backgrounds, links, and search engine settings round out the features of an excellent iGoogle alternative.
For a ridiculously powerful home page option, try Netvibes. While the service is primarily aimed at enterprise users, you can create a free account for personal use. Users gain access to a customizable page with both a feed reader view and a widget view. Thousands of custom themes and visual options allow for customization options for even the most finicky user, while the enormous selection of feeds and gadgets will ensure that there's almost certainly a gadget or preset feed category that will fit your needs.
Yahoo has long had its own customizable start page, and with iGoogle's impending demise, My Yahoo smells opportunity. Last September, my.Yahoo.com went through an overhaul to match Yahoo's new visual design. There's also a guide for importing iGoogle settings for what Yahoo hopes is an influx of iGoogle refugees. Gadgets and custom RSS feeds give you a lot of the same functionality, and Yahoo's new design aesthetics makes for a homepage that's easy on the eyes (and, of course, open to customization).
Microsoft also has its own iGoogle-like My MSN tool that stands to gain from the shutdown. my.MSN.com hits the right notes on interface to appeal to users looking for an iGoogle replacement, with drag-and-drop tiles of gadgets and news feed tiles. While its gadget offerings aren't spectacular, My MSN does offer a good selection of news-oriented feeds for users.
Protopage is a standout iGoogle alternative, offering the same mix of search bar, gadgets, preset and custom feeds. The site is clean and uncluttered, offers a good selection of gadgets and preset feeds, and provides wizards for easily adding custom content. Support for third-party gadgets means Protopage's environment keeps growing. Finally, visual customizations let you keep your homepage as simple or as sophisticated as you want.
A conservative attempt to copy iGoogle's interface and functionality, uStart.org gets the look and the tile layouts and dragging right. The gadget selection could be better, but uStart covers the basics, such as social media and webmail. Where this tool does edge out other options is by bundling a full, list-style RSS feed reader.
Symbaloo is a visually appealing, tile-based custom page that deviates from the widely copied iGoogle style, and isn't shy about marketing itself as an iGoogle alternative. Symbaloo instead presents users with a grid of tiles, on which users can place visual bookmarks, gadgets, feeds, and more. You can create your own Webmix of tiles and gadgets, or import a variety of user-shared Webmix layouts, which you can further customize to your heart's content. Multiple tabs let you save task- or content-oriented webmixes.