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The Ultimate in Home Page Customization
By: Gabor Bernat
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    Table of Contents:
  • The Ultimate in Home Page Customization
  • Warming Up With iGoogle and Netvibes
  • Customization
  • Taking a break

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    The Ultimate in Home Page Customization

    (Page 1 of 4 )

    Browsers are probably the most used applications after operating systems. Day by day we hook up to the Internet (in fact in this very moment you are doing so) to acquire particular information or just relax a bit and recharge our batteries. The first thing which an average user will face whenever he starts up his browser is a start page, or as it is better known, a home page. What do you want to see when you first get on the Internet? That page could be a lot more helpful, and more specific to your needs, than just a search engine, as you'll learn if you keep reading.

    There is a saying that first impressions count. Just think about it in real life. You are walking around in the park and you meet someone. You can be the most wonderful person, a terrible person, or somewhere in between; however, if you manage to give them a pleasant initial feeling, their confidence in you will be much stronger. This will influence how easily you can deal with them. 

    Although that first example was inspired by real life, the same story is also true in the world of browsers. In the twenty-first century, we're at a point where we tend to have less and less time to be focused; it is an all accepted fact that our attention span tends to be below a minute. If a company fails to raise our interest in their product in that time, we will ignore it and pass it by, looking for something different.

    As long as this time tends to go down, it is in the best interest of a company to catch our attention fast, or as is more commonly said, to make a excellent first impression. Probably pioneer web browser creators were thinking about this when they invented the Home Page and decided that we should have one of these rather than a blank start whenever we connect to the Internet.

    More than that, to kill two birds with one stone, they also decided to minimize the time needed for the average user trying to find crucial news for himself or herself. The ages that passed by proved that grouping more and more information onto the start-up page was a great idea. Initially the preferred sites added to this list were the search engines. The reason they were selected is simple: they contained (and still contain) the basic and most important part. Daily news related to all parts of the life (science, politics, sport, and more), the new blockbuster films, the latest music albums, and even TV programs; all of this and more can be found through a search engine.

    With the passage of years, much has changed due to technological evolution, but the basics remain the same. Nowadays, with AJAX on the scene, we're slowly redefining the way we think of a proper start page. Sure, before it, we had all the information we could read in the start pages, but AJAX lets the average person configure the page however he or she wants from all the existing options. If you want to get the basic idea behind AJAX, I recommend that you read the information at this link.

    Prior to AJAX, if you did not like a portal you could not do much about it, as it was all in one fixed package. But along with a massive evolution in bandwidth, we have moved away from dial-up connections, and barriers have been lifted so that now we can choose between many pictures, videos, Flash objects, and news feeds, all of which we can choose to be or to not to be present on our unique personalized home page. More than that, we find ourselves (although I find it quite sad) in a world where one's online social life is growing in importance. MySpace, Hi5, Facebook should ring a bell for anyone on this planet, after Google.

    The most popular browser comes with a search engine as a home page. Google is the default for Firefox, Yahoo for Internet Explorer, while the third big shot in this business, Opera, moved away from this idea and implemented instead the Speed Dial option. Nevertheless, if you are bored with all of them and want more style, even a fancier look with some practical usage, you should visit the following sites.

    Netvibes, iGoogle, PageFlakes, My Yahoo!, Windows Live, ProtoPage, Eskobo, yourminis, Gritwire, WevWag, Schmedley, It's A Start and last but not least Favoor. That's a lot of options! No wonder you could be overwhelmed. Which ones should you try out to find the best fit for you? I'm sure you don't want to spend a lot of time on it, because time is money in our world. Let me help you with the current article.

    Throughout this article, we will closely observe the ones that enjoy the most popularity from their excellent performance as far as home page customization. Of course, one of them is iGoogle (as you could figure it out) while the other is Netvibes. We will start and immerse ourselves in the past of each and after that, I will do a consecutive presentation of each part of them, so that we can compare the two of them better.

    I hope that I have raised your level and interest in this subject, and you are eager to try this out in your own browser. I will start up with iGoogle, another product from the gigantic company Google.

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