It's now less than a month before iGoogle goes the way of the dodo. Here are a few alternatives to fill that personal-front-page-shaped hole in your heart.
The— Google's front-page portal that allows users to aggregate their favourite apps, widgets and RSS feeds — is due on 1 November, leaving many users high and dry.
In the intervening months since the closure was announced in July last year, though, quite a few alternatives have popped up. Here are some of the best we've seen, while you still have time to migrate your RSS feeds.
igHome isn't perfect, but it's a pretty reasonable basic replacement for iGoogle. It allows you to add your feeds in a variety of custom tabs to suit your needs and has a bunch of neat widgets in a variety of categories. It even includes a bunch of easy-to-access links to Google services, such as Gmail, Calendar, YouTube, Maps and Search. The page is really simply laid out and easy to use; if you're after the bare-bones model, igHome should suit you nicely.
Out of the five options we've chosen for this list, Netvibes is probably our favourite. It's a little more complicated to use than igHome, but once you get the hang of it, it feels really intuitive and feature rich. Like iGoogle and igHome, it allows you to set out your RSS feeds, widgets, apps and feeds in tabs, and there's even a tool to create your own apps.
The page view is also switchable between a "reader" view and a "widget" view, incorporates a Google search bar so that you can search within your page and widgets dynamically resize to fit around each other and the page. Basic accounts are free, but professional users can, for US$499, access a bunch of tools, such as analytics, MisoData and tagging.
Widgets can also be manually resized, allowing you to prioritise your favourite feeds and tools. You can read more about its features on its introduction page.
Startific looks quite different to any of the services mentioned so far; its front page allows you to place bookmarks that look like icons and take you to the home page of the website in question. By scrolling down with the mouse wheel, you're taken to the rest of what it has to offer: widgets, social networking and a more reader-style bookmark list. It doesn't give you the at-a-glance rundown of the most recent stories posted to your favourite RSS feeds, but it's not a bad way to have all your bookmarks laid out on one page.
Like Startific, Symbaloo is icon based. It describes itself as "a visual way for you to link to your favorite online news sources and sites', and it allows you to create what it calls "webmixes" — a collection of tiles linking to websites and articles, mousing over for a more detailed description. However, it also has the ability to create an RSS webmix, combining the iGoogle approach with its own. It's certainly not as easy to learn to use, but it has a great deal to offer in terms of both bookmark and RSS management. If that sounds good to you, you can use its handy iGoogle importer tool to get started.
Do you have another suggestion? Let us know about it in the comments below.