iGoogle, which was launched in 2005 (under the name of Google Personalized Homepage), is a free service from Google which allows users to create a personalized start page.
The page contains the usual Google services horizontal bar and Google search at the top. Users can add any number of gadgets (news feeds, calendar, email, social media apps, games, etc) below. The customized iGoogle page can be accessed by any computer as long as you are logged in with your Google Account. Being browser-based, it works with any system, whether you are using Windows, MacOSX or Linux; it also works with many mobile phones.
Of course, iGoogle integrates very well with other Google Services like Gmail (to view your messages without opening your inbox), Google Maps (check directions), Google News (check top news), or YouTube (search videos). There are literally hundreds of other gadgets available, the most popular gadgets being the Facebook, Twitter and eBay gadgets, webmail gadgets (such as Hotmail Gadget or Yahoo! Mail), weather forecast, news headlines, hotel reservation, framed photos, movie showtimes, currency converters, calculators and games. There is a tool for everyone, whether you want to quickly check the stock quotes, need to manage your daily tasks with to-do lists or remember the milk gadget, get reminders of birthdays, convert currencies, chat with your friends or learn French, Spanish or Japanese.
Some gadgets are powered by Google while others are provided by companies, websites and even individuals.
Gadgets can be moved on your custom page with a simple drag-and-drop: to make it easy to organise your gadgets on your page, a thick dashed outline shows you where the gadget will drop before your release the mouse button. The left navigation, which can be hidden if necessary, displays the list of tabs to quickly navigate between gadgets that are in full-screen mode.
The page theme can also be customised with themes: themes change the page header and colour palette to match your mood, style or personality. Some themes are designed by professional artists and others by the userbase.
The iGoogle page, as long as it’s not overcrowded, loads fast – loading speed depends largely on the number of modules your pages contains, the speed of the sources for RSS feeds for example and the speed of your own internet connection of course.
iGoogle has almost no learning curve and provides quick access to almost unlimited activities and information from all across the web.
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