Saturday, November 23, 2013

Off-topic: NetVibes is better than iGoogle!

As one of the estimated 15 million users who had iGoogle as their web browser Home page, when Google closed iGoogle down on 1st November (a prime example of the stupidity of `the smartest guys in the room') I had to find another home page.

[Above: My `plain vanilla' NetVibes web browser Home page, which is very close to, and even better, than my former iGoogle page.]

Before iGoogle shut down I exported my RSS news feeds to a file iGoogle-settings.xml. I then tried a variety of home pages including ‎My Yahoo, igHome, StartMe and BlueG. But they each had their problems in that they did not make it easy to set up a Home page with a Google search window and my news feeds.

I would have been inclined to switch to My Yahoo except for another dumb decision by another bunch of `the smartest guys in the room', My Yahoo insisted on there being a large ad for a weather feed that I did not want and which I could not delete. On a My Yahoo forum there were many complaints about this but Yahoo was ignoring them.

You would think that with ~15 million new ex-iGoogle customers up for the taking, it would not have been rocket science to have provided a Home page that: a) allowed easy import of an iGoogle user's RSS feeds; b) provided a search box which included Google's search engine as an option; and c) did not have any features that iGoogle did not have which could not be removed.

Except NetVibes. I had also initially tried NetVibes and liked that it had a Google search box but it seemed to have too much that I didn't want and the import from the file iGoogle-settings.xml did not work for me. But I found that I could manually add my feeds and delete those that NetVibes had by default which I didn't want, and then also delete the tabs I didn't want, until I arrived at a very close copy of my iGoogle page. Indeed NetVibes is better than iGoogle in that it has a smaller font (maybe iGoogle had that option and I never realised it) and so allows more news headings per page.

My belated recommendation is that if you were a former iGoogle user and still have not found a browser Home page you are happy with, then try NetVibes.

2 comments:

Amaia López said...

I understand why some people like Netvibes, but the good thing about having so many options is that everybody can choose the one that has most of the things they like. For instance, I chose http://start.me because it is very simple to use, has a clean design and I could build it very fast, which were mainly the reasons I used iGoogle.

Stephen E. Jones said...

Amaia

Thanks for your comment.

>I understand why some people like Netvibes, but the good thing about having so many options is that everybody can choose the one that has most of the things they like.

Agreed. I posted my off-topic opinion that I found Netvibes to be better that iGoogle, in case there were still ex-iGoogle users out there who had not found a browser home page to their liking.

>For instance, I chose http://start.me because it is very simple to use, has a clean design and I could build it very fast, which were mainly the reasons I used iGoogle.

Glad you found StartMe met your requirements.

But as I mentioned, I tried StartMe, but I did not explain why I rejected it. It seemed too cluttered with news feeds I didn't want. Also it didn't seem to have a Google search window.

Maybe there was a way to begin StartMe with a clean page and then add a Google search window, but it was not immediately obvious to me.

As I said in my post, I would have thought that one of those designers of browser home pages which were aiming to attract iGoogle's ~15 million ex-customers, would have provided a clean page with options to: 1) easily import an iGoogle user's RSS feeds; 2) add a Google's search engine box; and 3) did not have any features that iGoogle did not have which could not be easily removed.

Even Netvibes didn't do that, but I found it the easiest to obtain a home page that could be customised to arrive at a close fit to my former iGoogle page.

Stephen E. Jones