Alternative to iGoogle
My iGoogle home page bit the dust Friday, as it had been warning me it would do for several months. I took the warning seriously, trying product after product to create a page of feeds and gadgets that I was comfortable with, but nothing really felt right. Loads of people recommended using Feedly as an alternative to iGoogle, but I missed those neat little boxes of feeds with the three most recent posts in each, and just enough text to let me know what the posts were about.
About to plug in, or about to unplug?
I sat there facing the blank white screen with only a Google search box in the center and felt like a fish out of water. My RSS feeds had all been moved to Feedly, but my brain just laid there inside of my skull and gasped as I tried to look for where I left off in each feed, scrolling and scrolling and not really connecting with what I was seeing. Surely, I thought, other people are having this problem, and wouldn’t there be something at least similar to the iGoogle home page layout? After several frustrating hours of trying out various apps from the Chrome store, I went to tech support, a.k.a. my husband.
Why is it that he can do a Google search and come up with an answer, while I use the exact same search terms and come up with close but no cigar? There, near the top of his results, was something called ighome (completely unaffiliated link), and it looked promising. I immediately tried it out, and so far I love it. In fact, it has a couple of features that I like even more than the dearly departed iGoogle home page.
Yes, I am a minimalist in every way I can manage, but have always had difficulty in applying minimalism to my online organizational methods. I’ve had a bifurcated setup for several years now, with my minimalism emails and feeds and links on one browser, and my personal and miscellaneous emails and feeds in another, with both browsers running at the same time. This was useful when I also had a brick-and-mortar business, but in the past couple of years the lines have grown blurrier. I’d sign up for a feed or a subscription with the wrong email address, for example, and a minimalism feed would come into my personal browser, and vice-versa. In short, it was a mess.
It was time to streamline. The new home page gadget allows for tabs, so I could put different groups of feeds on different pages. Now I can use just one browser and see news feeds on one tab, minimalism feeds on another, and writing feeds on yet another. I might even put some knitting feeds on a fourth tab before long. This is so cool, and it gives such sensible feedback to my muddle-prone brain.
Thus inspired, I’ve consolidated many other things into single accounts, including Google+, which I’m finally beginning to understand how best to use as a writer. If you’re a writer, you might want to check out the Google+ for Writers community. I’m busy reading and learning at this point, rather than actually participating, but bit by bit I’m finding a way to have a more professional online presence that also feels right. It’s taken my whole weekend (plus quite a bit of Steve’s) to get this done, and I’m still not completely done, but it’s getting there. My next job is to start posting original content on G+, and not just linking to the posts on this blog.
One of these days I might feel fluent enough in the process to write a post about how it all works, rather than how I’m just stumbling into this new way of being plugged in. For now, though, I’m just happy to be able to say I think I can do this.
If you have been using iGoogle and have replaced it with something, feel free to share it and/or your experience of it in the comments.