Customizable Homepages

posted by on 31st August 2006, at 2:01am

Not too long ago the homepage where your browser would start would be something simple like Google, Yahoo, or MSN search. Now these same companies are offering dynamic home pages that you can customize to your own liking. These pages can show anything from headlines on your favourite news website or your email account. That is what I’ll be looking at this month, customizable homepages by four different companies. They are:

Before I start in examining these I’ll say that I use Google IG and I’ve been very happy with it. So let’s start with Google IG.

Google IG

Google IG is located at you can substitute .com with your country’s domain. For example, Canada is .ca, UK is, and Germany is .de. You do need a Google account or Gmail account to use this. The default Google IG starts out with a clock, weather, and news segments tailored to the country you have entered from. Once you log in you can customize it by removing modules and adding new ones. Anything that has a RSS feed can be added as a module. RSS stands for really simple syndication. You get three columns to move the modules around, you can’t expand horizontally but you can keep adding as many modules as you require vertically.

There are also many user created modules that you can add. These are all sorts of things ranging from sticky notes to NASA image of the day. You can find these in the Google directory. Once again if something you like to read every day isn’t here you can add it by adding the URL of the RSS file.

Now you can’t change the background colour or text colour on Google’s page but I don’t require functionality like that.

Windows Live

Windows Live is Microsoft’s response to MyYahoo and Google IG. Much like Google IG, Windows Live lets you add your own modules with RSS. They also have a selection of premade ones called “Gadgets” this is most likely because in Windows Vista there will be a sidebar and you will be able to add Gadgets to it. So the naming system is the same, even though you won’t be able to use a web Gadget on your Vista desktop. Just like Google IG you can move the Gadgets around. However with this you are able to have multiple pages. This is good if you like sectioning your news, entertainment, and RSS feeds. Another thing you can do on Live that you can’t do on Google IG is change the header colour. Not bad at all for Microsoft.

My Yahoo!

My Yahoo is too much like a classic PHP Nuke portal website. MyYahoo contains the most information but it is too much info for me and it is overwhelming. As with all of the other customizable portals you are able to move things around, control the columns etc… However with MyYahoo you can decide whether you want three columns or two. Like Windows Live you are also able to add pages so you are not limited to just one page. This is definitely a viable option if you like lots of info and are not as picky about content of the page as I am.


Protopage is a very close alternative to Google IG for me. Protopage gives you the most customization there are also tons of Widgets that can be added ranging from email, sticky notes, to weather. This one indeed offers the most customization out of all the homepages featured here. You can change the colour of the background or even set a background image. You also can change the title bar for each widget to your liking. Another feature with Protopage is that you can add extra pages to it. The only reason I don’t use Protopage is because there is no specific way to dock a panel in place so it doesn’t move.

Here is a screenshot of my page:

Some useful links:

Have fun with your new home page. I may even look at protopage again after writing this article 🙂


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