Friday, February 15, 2013

Need a Personalized Homepage? Take a Look at igHome

This past August, I wrote about my transition from Outlook to an web-based suite of tools, and my transition from the BlackBerry to an Android device. Those posts are as follows:

With Outlook, all five modules were located together, with the five buttons listed on the left-hand side of the screen, one below the other. The post entitled "Putting All the Parts Together" was about getting the same effect through the use of a personalized home page, and used Netvibes as the tool to do it. Since that time, I have come across another personalized homepage I like even better.

A great deal of talk has arisen following Google's announcement that iGoogle will no longer be available after November 1, 2013. The announcement has left many scrambling for another alternative.

I am experimenting with a new service called "igHome." The only slightly confusing part to me was when I created an account, it appeared to be asking for my Google password. That is not the case. After creating an account, the resemblance of igHome to iGoogle is unmistakeable. The page even includes the toolbar at the top, which takes you to Google Calendar, Gmail, YouTube, etc.
Time Management

The igHome page provides what Outlook provided, the various modules of my organizational together. Furthermore, they are together on my desktop computer, my laptop, or on any computer in the world which has Internet access. I can go into a public library, school, or any business establishment and log into my account. I see my organizational system and can work from it just as if I was sitting at my home computer.

Time Management


When the browser opens, I see my calendar, to-do list, and email side-by-side. (I have hidden the tasks and email from view in this screen shot just to keep private things private.) Imagine being able to view these three tools all at once. It's great for productivity.

You can add your own gadgets by clicking the "Add Gadgets" button in the upper-right corner. There, you can enter a subject in the search window and see whether or not the gadget you want exists. On the left-hand side of the screen, a list of categories is visible. Clicking on any category name reveals a list of suggested gadgets.

Time Management


The page even includes a link to leave a suggestion for a new gadget. My experience has been that the library of gadgets is rich, and virtually everything I had on my iGoogle page is also available on igHome. I am finding the selections on igHome to be better than Netvibes.

I have found the creator of igHome to be very responsive to suggestions. He has a good system in place for taking requests and providing feedback on the status of those requests. For example, I found the Google Calendar gadget would display only the main Google Calendar, whereas I also have a second calendar which tracks my wife's appointments, and a third containing "FYI" events. I asked about the possibility of being able to show multiple Google calendars in igHome. Within just a couple of weeks, that capability was there.

Presently, the service is in Beta, and that may cause some people to be nervous. However, everything I am seeing looks good. If that situation changes, I always have Netvibes as a fallback.
 
Do you use a personal homepage, and if so, which one? Anyone else using igHome?
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