A month ago, users of iGoogle began receiving daily messages that counted down the days until the service was set to close. Last Friday, November 1st, was the designated date, when the browser homepage that we’ve been using since 2005 shut down forever. Now that we’re here, is it worth the effort to look for a new alternative?
The smartphone market and the proliferation of these devices turned out to be one of the fundamental motives for this inevitable shutdown. In the end, iGoogle was no more than a home menu, a container for applications or widgets from both Google or third-party developers who used the free API from Google. The search giant ended up discovering enemies living under its own roof: these browser extensions were predestined to take over as heirs apparent of iGoogle itself.
Google’s maneuvers leading to this situation have been quite clear, with extensions even extending to replace many traditional desktop applications, as well as the company’s creation of a showcase, Chrome Apps, to store the apps and give them visibility, not to mention the need to capture those who actually use Google + for reasons other than having to create an account to use other Google services.
For notifications of new emails there’s your smartphone itself as well as browser extensions, both official ones from your email provider and otherwise. In the case of news feeds, and also given the recent disappearance of Google Reader, you have tools like Feedly, Flipboard, or Digg Reader, each with its own social interaction features, not to mention the standalone tools from Google that continue to work independently, such as the Calendar and Translate.
If you prefer to kick it old-school you can still always use other all-in-one homepages like Google’s, and Yahoo will also continue to offer its own personalized landing page. There are also pages that directly clone the dearly departed iGoogle, such as the Chrome extension New Tab Page or classics like NetVibes, which is for many people the best in class when it comes to customizing your homepage.