iGoogle Alternative Netvibes - gHacks Tech News

iGoogle Alternative Netvibes

With iGoogle being shut down by Google in November 2013 I thought it would be a good idea to revisit some of the Internet startpage alternatives that users of iGoogle may switch to when that time comes.

I first came into contact with Netvibes in 2006 and have used it for quite a while back then as my central hub for reading RSS feeds. I later on switched to desktop feed readers as I ran into several issues using the site that took too long to get fixed.

Netvibes

Netvibes at its core is a service that  lets you create your own personalized start page, just like iGoogle offers to do. It gives its users control over the layout of the page, the widgets that are added to it, themes, and other personalization options.

netvibes

You can concentrate on a single startpage, or use tabs to create multiple pages for different purposes. A click on the plus icon in the upper left corner of the screen displays all available widgets. Here is a short list of widget types that you can add to your startpage on Netvibes:

  • RSS feed urls
  • News (e.g. Google News, Yahoo News, major newspapers like WSJ or LA Times
  • Email, including Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo Mail and Pop3 among others
  • Weather reports
  • Social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook
  • Finance related information
  • Games
  • Lifestyle and shopping related widgets
  • Travel guides, deals and maps

You can drag the widgets around on each tab to move them into the right location on the screen. Some require configuration before you can make use of them. To integrate an email account, you need to enter your login credentials for instance, while most social networking sites need to be linked to Netvibes before new notifications and messages are displayed on the site.

Netvibes supports themes which you can activate with a few clicks of the button. Here you find the usual assortment of dark and light themes.

themes

One interesting new feature that I do not think was available before is the public page which is accessible without having to sign in first to the service. The widgets are limited though, as all that require authorization of some sort are not available for selection. If you are only interested in news, weather, information and the like, you could create a public page instead and use it without having to log in first every time you want to use the service.

If it is only feed reading and news that you are after, you can switch to reader view which offers a streamlined optimized news listing. Here you only see news and feed related contents, and not the widgets anymore. The layout is similar to other feed reading or messaging applications.

news

You do not find any ads listed on Netvibes. Even the free version ships without any kind of advertisement, and it appears that the operators are generating revenue from premium accounts that they make available. Premium users get access to additional features like alerts or analytics plus VIP support.

Verdict

Netvibes is a solid alternative for iGoogle users. The service is fast and reliable, and it should not take long for iGoogle users to get accustomed to it. There are a few minor issues concerning drag and drop, and a few of the widgets that are offered. For the most time though, everything works fine and without larger issues.

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Comments

  1. Midnight said on July 4, 2012 at 9:42 am
    Reply

    Looks interesting but rather limited in Basic mode and the price for Premium for one is insane at $499.00/month!!
    Who are they kidding?

    Oh well, at least iGoogle will be available for quite some time and we can all find alternatives when the time comes! :)

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 4, 2012 at 9:52 am
      Reply

      I agree, that is pretty expensive. In which way do you think the basic mode is limited in comparison to iGoogle?

      1. Midnight said on July 4, 2012 at 10:25 am
        Reply

        With iGoogle, there were more selections, more variety of news, features and items that took me quite some time to set up on two pages. I had a whole bunch of Tech news pages that kept me informed all the time.

        But then, I haven’t totally checked out everything on Netvides, so with time and some patience, I could set up something close to iGoogle.

        BTW, my iGoogle is now gone. Doesn’t show anywhere on my page.
        Nowhere to sign in and load iGoogle.

        I thought they were doing away with it on November 2013. That’s 17 months away!

        Just wondering if enough people complain, then maybe Google might change their minds and keep it.

  2. Midnight said on July 4, 2012 at 10:26 am
    Reply

    Yea, I know…Netvibes!
    No way to edit our posts, here. :)

    1. George O said on May 28, 2013 at 4:06 am
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      Well, a replacement would be nice indeed, but it can’t really match the original iGoogle and doesn’t really add value to your startpage… I feel it’s somehow a downgrade from the original iGoogle.

      You you will enjoy the change, I felt a real Upgrade after I start using http://startific.com

      It has a beautiful interface, you will love it!

  3. Leon said on July 4, 2012 at 10:37 am
    Reply

    You might wanna concider new Aboogy http://new.aboogy.com
    Having bookmarks in your homepage widgets might be more useful than it looks.

    1. Midnight said on July 4, 2012 at 10:59 am
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      Looks nice, Leon, but I already have my Bookmarks in my Browser (Firefox) so that feature is rather redundant!

      I’ll check out the other features.

      1. Matt said on July 5, 2012 at 3:12 pm
        Reply

        Your web browser does not follow you across computers unless you use a portable browser which has issues of it’s own.

    2. Steve said on July 8, 2012 at 12:26 pm
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      New Aboogy isn’t quite iGoogle alternative but I like it. Read Later and Quick link addons are very useful.

    3. scribadiva said on August 26, 2013 at 8:47 pm
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      I could select bookmarks on iGoogle to show, and it was very handy, since I have so many. In fact, it’s the most efficient use of my bookmarks, in spite of bookmark manager on Chromium, I discovered today that Google Reader has been gone for two months, and I was using a secondary program on my phone, so I didn’t notice.l don’t have the heart to fix Google Reader right now. I have a partial backup on my Blog List, and I truly love my iGoogle.

  4. Pete said on July 4, 2012 at 12:37 pm
    Reply

    Hmm,
    Looks to me when I read the Google blog that they want me to ditch FireFox ( or any other browser for that matter) and move to Chrome, since I have used iGoogle on my desktop P.C. since it first came in. I cannot say I am happy about this, but things always change. I find it odd that they are not providing a direct replacement.

    Cheers
    Pete

    1. Earl said on July 4, 2012 at 6:07 pm
      Reply

      That’s the same vibe I got. Seems like a low-ball move on Google’s part, but a lot can change in 17 months. All I can say is, I’ll be finding an alternative, whether it’s Netvibes, or somebody else who will take advantage of Google’s mistake.

      Or we’ll all be owned by Google and it won’t matter… lol.

  5. Mark said on July 4, 2012 at 5:25 pm
    Reply

    Tried netvibes, it is useless.

    The mail widget can’t load email content inline, or mark anything as read, or send replies from the widget etc.

    Considering that the email widget is the most important one out of the lot, I’m amazed that I have been unable to find a single dashboard website on the entire internet with the same functionality as the igoogle one.

    I’ve been scrabbling around online for the past 4 hours trying to find something that actually replaces igoogle properly, and it just plain doesn’t exist. It has been my homepage for the last 7 years for a very good reason.

    1. scribadiva said on August 26, 2013 at 8:51 pm
      Reply

      If you’ve found anything you are happy with, please let me know! I have Netvibes, and I’m now working with Google Drive. I’m adding extensions, and I don’t see a way to place my fav feeds on the page, so I’m not sure that will work out. Any help from anyone would be most appreciated.

  6. chenvej said on July 4, 2012 at 9:32 pm
    Reply

    Funny that Google suggests apps and widgets to replace iGoogle. That is exactly the opposite of iGoogle’s strength: consolidating a bunch of functionality in one place.
    The search is on…

    1. schm0 said on July 5, 2012 at 5:44 am
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      Seems to me that not everyone owns a smart phone, either.

  7. Danny said on July 4, 2012 at 11:56 pm
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    My.Yahoo.com is good enough for me. I used it before iGoogle even existed.

  8. Uhtred said on July 5, 2012 at 3:10 am
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    I guess I’m old fashioned, I just open my firefox to the default home page for a quick load to make sure all is good, and then bookmark my way from there.

  9. Delphinoy said on July 5, 2012 at 6:19 am
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    thanks for letting me know about netvibes. I hope they’ll release more Widgets for it like iGoogle.

  10. iron2000 said on July 5, 2012 at 2:55 pm
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    I never liked iGoogle.

    Have been using Netvibes for a few years now.
    My daily news dashboard, I like how I can see all the feeds on one screen.
    Too bad that experience can’t be replicated on the small screen of the smartphone.

    Actually I would compare Netvibes to Google Reader.

  11. snowman said on July 5, 2012 at 8:04 pm
    Reply

    Google are getting way out of hand, using their powerful position to drive the internet to their own agenda to monetise their services. This move is designed to promote Chrome, and indirectly promote the Nexus, which in turn is designed to promote Google’s cloud service (no card support) and will no doubt leverage other aspects too. Microsoft were forced to effectively bundle browsers other than IE after exploiting their near monopoly position with Windows. Some kind of control will soon be required on Google as well.
    @Matt et al: xmarks (now owned by lastpass) is what you’re looking for. Syncs your bookmarks across multiple PCs – it’s excellent. And free.

  12. snowman said on July 5, 2012 at 8:07 pm
    Reply

    PS anyone tried feedly (http://www.feedly.com/)? Is that a good substitute?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 5, 2012 at 8:13 pm
      Reply

      Is not that only a feed reader?

    2. scribadiva said on August 26, 2013 at 8:59 pm
      Reply

      Io was using feedly for my Google Reader., Between missing Google Reader’s demise, needing to build a new iGoogle, as well as requiring a new phone, and getting used to Win8..Well, Crisis in Chinese also means opportunity. I’ll start enjoying this.

  13. Tom said on July 5, 2012 at 8:58 pm
    Reply

    Check out http://www.protopage.com. it is much more like iGoogle than netvibes is. I like it much more. It is easy to add widgets and rss feeds which are overly complex in netvibes.

  14. Jesse said on July 5, 2012 at 9:37 pm
    Reply

    I have been using iGoogle since the day it came out. I also use Zite which I think is great for reading news on a tablet. With the news that iGoogle will be discontinued I searched for a replacement and found Feedly. It is a combination between iGoogle and Zite but in the web browser. It links directly to my Reader feeds so setup was a snap. It is a Google extension in Chrome…so maybe apps like this is why Google is trying to get us to switch.

    Feedly is very smooth, fast, and powerful.

    I am impressed after 24 hours of use. I already deleted iGoogle from my bookmarks so I will start to get used to Feedly ASAP.

  15. klozone said on July 5, 2012 at 10:32 pm
    Reply

    how safe is Netvibes? can I trust it with my gmail password through the widget?

  16. Danny said on July 10, 2012 at 7:06 pm
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    I use ‘ALLMYFAVES’ (http://allmyfaves.com/join) as my start page to the Internet: it syncs all of my bookmarks, and brings me interesting content based on my interests… I’ve found SO many great websites through them!

    Honestly love AllMyFaves, you guys should look at that… Netvibes is awfully businesslike, doesn’t look like any fun to me!

  17. Clinton Wu said on July 21, 2012 at 6:11 am
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    Thanks, Martin. Take the shut down as a blessing in disguise. It’s time to upgrade. I know iGoog is functional and efficient but it’s time to merge that with the new paradigms of interaction design and user experience.

    Before it shuts down, please give Skim.Me (http://skim.me) a try. I’m a founder and you can email me at wu at skim dot me with what you don’t like about it. We make your daily online routine more productive and have been working on this for the past year.

    Your routine sources (not just news feeds and social media) are automatically setup, personalized and managed for you. Browse content from your sources in timed batches throughout the day and see how much you’ve accomplished, never how many unread you have. Releasing summer 2012!

  18. dean said on August 1, 2012 at 7:40 pm
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    Has any tried http://yourport.com. This is a great alternative to iGoogle but it is a lot more simple to use.

  19. Daniela @Symbaloo said on September 4, 2012 at 10:16 pm
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    You may want to take a look at Symbaloo too. We setup this special page for all people who would like to see more about how to start with Symbaloo after having used iGoogle: http://blog.symbaloo.com/igoogle-alternative/

  20. swafo said on October 15, 2012 at 1:34 am
    Reply

    There’s a new project (MoDomhan) in the works that you should check out:
    http://www.indiegogo.com/modomhan

    It’s a highly customizable page (or pages) that allows you to add whatever widget(s) you want. So it looks like it will be able to do everything that iGoogle can, plus a bunch more!

    Might be worth a look.

  21. Leona said on October 16, 2012 at 3:28 pm
    Reply

    Hey guys, personally, I prefer a recently launched service called myLinkCloud. It allows you to create your personalized and fully customized internet desktop. It´s stylish, it´s free, it´s social, it´s easy to use – in a nutshell – it´s much better than anything else out there. myLinkCloud is the best iGoogle alternative – actually, it´s probably even better than that. See for yourselves and check it out https://www.mylinkcloud.com/

  22. Ginger A said on July 3, 2013 at 2:17 am
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    Since iGoogle is closing, any valid replacement is welcome. But, in my opinion why settle with just a replacement? If you want a real UPGRADE that add value to your startpage, I warmly recommend to everyone, to try http://www.startific.com

    It’s a brand new platform, and an upgrade from so many points of views.

  23. Tom said on October 31, 2013 at 1:28 am
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    Try http://www.iloggo.com nice icon based starting page which works also on mobile browsers

  24. BillieYoung said on November 1, 2013 at 5:29 pm
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    iGoogle is closed today and Please tell me what is the best alternatives of iGoogle. I have found the website http://www.igooglealternatives.info/. This website share with me top 10 iGoogle alternatives but i am not sure which the best one is. Please suggest me.

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