The iGoogle page is going to be retired! WHAT!!?? Well, yes, it’s true but we have a while. It won’t go away until November of 2013 so that’s plenty of time to begin the search for the iGoogle homepage diehards! My post will explore some options that I am familiar with. I’d love to hear about other browser startup solutions.
The demise of iGoogle has been lamented by some in my PLN. I had used iGoogle as my start page previously, but not in recent years. Why? Different methods for organizing the favorite sites, extensions, gadgets and more became available for me to try out and use. Some stuck, some didn’t. Currently my favorite way of managing an Interent launch on my laptop has me using Chrome with a variety of extensions and apps. I use TabCloud which is an extension that lets one save ten sets of tabs. I don’t have ten sets saved, but I regularly clear out ones that have no use for me or have become an unneeded set. I’ll be clearing out my ISTE set soon. TabCloud lets me restore a set of tabs I regularly use NO MATTER what computer I’m on. You will note that I have a set for DHS, which is school. It’s just a nice way to have some consistency in my computer usage, no matter where I am.
Alternatives in various browsers too
Browsers have created methods for streamlining your browsing efforts as well. Bookmark toolbars work well, though they can be restricted to a single workstation. In my work environment, I had to use Internet Explorer until just recently (thankfully Chrome, my preferred browser, has been greenlighted!) Despite the many web portals for managing favorite widgets, apps, etc., I just loaded my toolbar with the links to my preferred set frequently used. It seems dumb considering the number of cloud apps that take your start page to whatever computer you are on, and yes, I used standard bookmarks at work, at least BEFORE Chrome became blessed by my district. And truthfully, I used Chrome there anyway, especially after adding the CloudTab App, as I could load up a “work” set of tabs that included my portal to Destiny, PowerSchool, PowerTeacher, and more. Subversive at times, I reckon. Yes, I confess.
So what else is out there?
Some call these web start-up pages, others call them a “homepage.” Still more refer to this phenomenon as their Internet dashboard. The following list contains the ones I’m familiar with or were shared with me recently. Where applicable I’ve included a review by a user or organization.
- Protopage a very Web 2.0 version of a personalized start page with freestyle drag-and-drop customization. This one is new to me, but does pique my interest. Read news, add RSS feeds, arrange widgets, and customize to your hearts desire–definitely has the iGoogle look and feel. It is available as a mobile app too. (They tweeted me their link.)
- Netvibes One of the oldest start pages still going strong, it has plenty of options to offer. It is easy to use, but not quite as pretty as some of the newer start pages. So you lose the ability to “pretty” up the interface like iGoogle, it is a standard in start up pages. And it’s been around for a while.
- Symbaloo Touted as an online visual bookmark organizer, it can also be your launching portal to all that you favor on the Internet. Using Symbaloo, a named AASL Best Website for Teaching and Learning in June 2011, allows users to customize their own online start page. Users can organize and access favorites easily and quickly with a personal internet desktop created with Symbaloo. The proposed mobile pad by Microsoft called “Microsoft Surface” seems to use Symbaloo like logic (DISCLAIMER: this link goes to pictures, which is how I am drawing that conclusion). Friend Dan Callahan says, “I love symbaloo, but it has a very different metaphor as a launch page.”
- TabCloud A browser extension available for Chrome, Firefox and Android which allows you to save groups of open tabs for access later or on another device. My review is above.
- Fav4 A simple website to set as your browser’s default homepage featuring links to four of your favorite websites. It appears you can have more than four, but its name and popularity stem from a simplistic look. It uses icon type logos. If you’re a fan of the apps look on your smartphone, then you’ll like this one.
- FreshStart A simple cross browser session manager. If you have different sets of websites that matter to you at work, at home or at different times, or if you have multiple users on your Chrome, you should give this a try!