Goodbye iGoogle, it was nice to know you!

Posted: October 19, 2013 in Deep Thoughts, Distractions and Barriers, General Resources, Resources
Tags: , , , , , ,

iGoogle

iGoogle has been my homepage since 2005! It’s been a terrific 8 years together. I don’t even remember what my homepage was before iGoogle… probably the minimal Google search page (how boring). I’ve grown used to the never-ending distraction of news, email, calendar, and other reminders (like what deals I have to use before they expire), and frankly I have not found a replacement yet. This morning the reminder that Google was “killing” my old friend iGoogle in 13 days popped up and I felt a little sad, a little panicked, and a bit ticked off!

I’ve read Google’s help topic, What’s happening to iGoogle?, more than once and I still don’t get it. Maybe that’s because I’m thinking of this more from what I want as a user of Google’s products than from their grand strategic point of view as a company that makes lots of money. Of course software companies that lose sight of “what the customer wants” have paid a price in the past. Think of RIM and the Blackberry, Microsoft and… well you can “take your pick” of several failures. Do I expect Google to lose customers or money based on this decision? Not really, they have the best search engine in the world and as far as I have seen no one else is close. That is their “bread and butter” product like Windows is for Microsoft. You can afford to be wrong about a lot of things when you have money pouring in from a cash cow like that. Google’s suggestion is to use Chrome, you’ll love it! This is a good strategic move for them. This could lead to a bigger share of the browser market for them, resulting in increased interest in creating 3rd party apps for Chrome, which also run on their Chrome operating system, and more recently on your Windows desktop.

So what does Google really want? Of course they want to take Microsoft’s cash cow from them. Microsoft has been trying to take the search cash cow from Google for years, so this is only fair right? But as a very satisfied iGoogle user I really don’t care! I just want my iGoogle. So Microsoft, please create iBing, if you could also create an iBing Chrome app, and an iBing Android app I would appreciate it. If you put Bing search on it I might even use it – occasionally! But if you put Google search on it… I’ll be telling all my friends – “iGoogle is dead. Long live iBing”!

Honestly, the one iGoogle alternative I haven’t looked at yet are other portals like Yahoo!, AOL, and MSN. Yahoo offers a configurable home page – myYahoo and so does Microsoft at myMSN but they revolve around Yahoos and MSN’s offerings and I’ve grown attached to my Google things. However, these sites are options and if you want something like iGoogle from a company you trust, they are better options than Google is offer at this point. I have looked at some of the alternatives put forth by other companies including a Chrome app called iChrome – it is not even close.

NetVibes

There are some sites like ProtoPage and igHome that really try to be just like iGoogle. I haven’t tried them yet, but I’ll say that one issue I would have with them is trusting them with all my choices and my personal info. That may seem funny when I trust Google with the same info, but it is an issue for me. I guess it is because, besides the news the only things I had on iGoogle were Google widgets and Google already had that info. I’ve been using NetVibes for a couple of months, just to have a place to “see multiple news feeds” and it works but it is not the same as iGoogle. NetVibes does have Google search though.

I will likely search for options with Chrome and try to get used to Google’s icons to a single page interface for a bit. If that works Google gets what it wants! If it doesn’t work, I will try to get used to myMSN or myYahoo and I’ll just set the browsers search engine to Google. In that case Google still doesn’t lose… the cash cow keeps mooing and that at least has to be reassuring to them.

Update 22 Oct 2013: I’m trying out My Yahoo. It actually has instructions to help you export your iGoogle settings and import them into My Yahoo. I was able to do it, but the calendar events are showing up on the wrong day. I’m sure this is due to a time zone preference setting, but I’ve corrected it everywhere I can find it and the issue is persisting. My Yahoo can be set up to show gmail and Google Calendar events though. So far it is very similar!

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Comments
  1. Ralph says:

    Agreed with you there are some much better options out there like ighome, netvibes also http://www.startme.com its really a great alternate and comes much successful as compare to igoogle features. I am using it from last 2 months and really like it may be you will also. Waiting for your review about this one.

    • eric.rial says:

      Thanks for the comment Ralph. I’ll take a look at startme.com. I’m hoping something comes up as iGoogle is nearly down to single digits for “days left”.

  2. Mitch says:

    Hi Eric, nice post! You did a great analysis and I agree with you 100% on what you said about Microsoft. If you want to “see multiple news feeds”, I would suggest using http://www.hinto.co, it’s really cool.
    Bye.

    • eric.rial says:

      I appreciate the comment Mitch and the suggestion. One thing I see right away with hinto.com is that Facebook login is the only option. I avoid this when I can as I don’t want to have to sort through the permissions I’m giving the site to access my Facebook info. Especially not to just check out a site. The splash screen looks interesting, if they give some other login options I would check it out.

  3. Tom Zookn says:

    http://www.iloggo.com is simple home page with icons of all your favorite sites. You can choose logos or crop them easily and then display on your grids. And yes, iloggo is compatible with any mobile browser and you can have same grids on your PC, mobile and tablet.

    • eric.rial says:

      Thanks Tom. It looks like an interesting idea. However,I don’t think it will provide the part of iGoogle that I am missing. On a desktop with a large screen I like to see multiple iframes with news readers in some of the iframes, and then other iframes that display my calendar, latest emails, and my stock quotes of interest. I also like 1 or more iframes that hold lists of todo’s or deals that I need to schedule to use before they expire. iGoogle did all this for me on on page. It is good to have a set of links that is the same on both desktop and mobile systems, so this page may be useful too. My smartphone’s screen is big enough to do one thing at a time, but I don’t want to be limited to that on my desktop or tablet. Thanks again.

  4. moiche says:

    Eric, Thank you for expressing what we’re all feeling. iGoogle was familier, useful, and I loved that I could have a different theme for each tab/page, some even changed as the day went on.
    Goodbye, iGoogle, you were a great idea, ended much too early.

    • eric.rial says:

      Thanks Moiche. I’ve been trying out other portals. So far MyYahoo is winning. I imported my iGoogle settings so it has the same stuff (except my Google Finance Portfolio), just looks different. The calendar was not picking up my time zone and I didn’t see a way to set it, but it is working today. I don’t know if they fixed it, or if it was fixed when I added my first event on to my Google Calendar today from the MyYahoo calendar widget. Either way, I’m more likely to stick with this now that the calendar is right. I can’t imagine why Google would give up customers. I’ve also notice that I’m getting a lot more traffic from other search engines, so this may be hurting their search business too. (More likely, I just get placed higher in search results from those search engines.)

      Regardless of why they did it, I will miss iGoogle for some time to come!

  5. Avi Kohn says:

    Hi,

    I’m the author of iChrome. I just released a major update with a better interface, tabs, more widgets, more themes and OK Google hotword detection like Google Now.

    If you’re interested please check it out and see if it’s a good alternative to iGoogle!

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