Google announced back in July 2012 that it would retire its personalized homepage service iGoogle on November 1, 2013. The customizable startpage on the Internet enabled users to create their own personal homepage that they could fill with contents of interest.
Users had options to add gadgets to the startpage, including weather widgets, RSS feeds or a photo viewer and also to change the default theme to a custom one.
If you try to open the iGoogle website today, you will notice that you are automatically redirected to the Google homepage. The service has been shut down and any attempt to open its main page or a sub-page will result in the redirect.
With that said, it is also worth mentioning that Google is in the process of deleting all user data associated with the iGoogle service. If you missed the deadline and have not exported your data to your local system, you have no option whatsoever to do so now that the service has been shut down.
Only data that you have integrated into iGoogle from other services, for instance Gmail or Google Calendar, are still available as you can still access it when you open the products directly in your web browser or application of choice.
The shutdown is the second high profile product that Google shuts down this year. The shutdown of Google Reader strengthened third party services and it is likely that the discontinuation of iGoogle will do the same for third party personalized homepage services.
We have reviewed several alternatives to iGoogle in the past, including long standing services such as Netvibes but also new services like Backstit.ch that were created as a response to Google’s announcement.
There have not been as many announcements of new services as was the case when Google confirmed the closure of Google Reader. This can be partially explained by the dominance of Google Reader in its field, while iGoogle had always stronger competition in the form of Netvibes and other services.
It remains to be seen what users of iGoogle will do now that the service has been shut down for good. Some will likely stop using personalized startpages while others may migrate to services such as Netvibes or Backstit.ch instead which offer a similar feature set (some would say advanced).
Google’s main drive in recent time seems to be the focus on its strongest products only, and to either shut down those that do not meet certain criteria, or to integrate them into the company’s Google+ service. While it is unlikely that we will see a resurrection of iGoogle in some form on Google+ or as part of Google Now, it is still possible that the company will introduce such a chance at a later point in time.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.