In May of 2005, Google introduced a customizable homepage called Google Personalized Homepage. In April of 2007, this service was renamed iGoogle. iGoogle allows you to assemble, all on one page, rss feeds, various gadgets, and tabs to organize a virtually unlimited amount of information. iGoogle is compatible with IE 5.5+ (Windows), Firefox 0.8+ (Windows, Mac, Linux), Safari 1.2.4+ (Windows, Mac), Netscape 7.1+ (Windows, Mac, Linux), Mozilla 1.4+ (Windows, Mac, Linux), and Opera 8+ (Windows, Mac, Linux). I will take you step-by-step in creating your very own personalized iGoogle home page.
- Get a gmail account. The first step in having your own iGoogle home page is to get a free gmail account. Once you have created your new gmail account, this is the same login and password you will use to sign in to your iGoogle home page.
- Sign in to iGoogle. To begin setting up your home page, you will need to navigate to iGoogle and sign in using your gmail login.
- Look around. The iGoogle home page is set up in a clean and simple way. You will notice the familiar Google search box at the top. Below that, you will see a tab called 'Home'. This is the home tab, and is already set up with a few 'gadgets'. Gadgets are like little browsers and programs that reside on the page, and each one performs its own duty. Many are available, and later in this tutorial we will dig a little deeper into the world of Google Gadgets. On the opposite side of the home page you will see the words 'Select theme'. Clicking on Select theme will allow you to change the look of your iGoogle home page. Next to that, the link called 'Add stuff' opens up a page where you can find thousands of new gadgets to add to your home page.
- Add tabs. Now it is time to start making your home page more personal. Click the 'add a tab' link next to the Home tab. You are presented with a pop-up box that asks you for a tab name. Give your tab a short name that describes what you will have in that tab. You will see a check box that says "I'm feeling lucky. Automatically add stuff based on the tab name." What this does is tell Google to add relevant gadgets to your tab automatically based on the tab name. If you enter "Kids" for example, the Kids tab is populated with different gadgets that are relevant to kids. You may choose not to let Google do that for you. In that case, you will click on the 'Add stuff' link at the top of the page and choose the gadgets that you want on this tab. You can add as many tabs to your home page as will fit across the top row.
- About Gadgets. Once you have added some gadgets, you will notice that each gadget has a colored bar at the top containing the name of the gadget on the left side and three icons at the right side. The icons are, from left to right: options, collapse, and close gadget. A very interesting feature is the ability to move your gadgets around! Click and hold down the colored area at the top of a gadget, and drag. You can drag it to another slot on the home page in the same way you can move windows around on your desktop. Pretty awesome, eh?