Thursday, March 06, 2008

Netvibes Ginger - Can It Replace iGoogle?

I've been a huge fan of iGoogle since it launched. It so easily integrates with all the other Google services that I use, it's hard to justify a switch. Gmail, Calendar, Reader, and my own Google Finance portfolios are all in one plane, with very minimal setup. Plus Docs, and some Facebook notifications as well.

I tried Netvibes a while back since it's so well-regarded, but quickly gave it up when I found that I liked Google's better. Now I'm checking out Netvibes Ginger, and... well actually I'm waiting for my account there to be "activated." Guess I'll put this post on ice for a bit.

As it turns out, signing up for a new account is an easier way to get started... So I did that, and started trying to replicate my iGoogle page. Gmail was easy (though it will ONLY show unread mail), and Calendar as easy as grabbing my iCal link - though I could only choose one of my 5 calendars whereas iGoogle lets shows them all. The Facebook widget is pretty sweet, and I added the Twitter app for the hell of it - very nice.

How about importing some feeds? I grabbed my OPML file out of Google Reader and uploaded it into Netvibes pretty easily. The result? I can create individual widgets for each of my 153 (and counting) feeds. Maybe that's fine for the average blog surfer, but not for folks like me...
So we continue. I checked out some of the pre-configured tabs, since their "Universes" feature doesn't look like it's available yet for Ginger. Nothing really new here - and as much as I like the idea of users creating their own tabs and sharing them with everyone else, I had difficulty finding any that really added value to me - especially beyond customizing pages myself.

In general - the design is much better than iGoogle, but the tradeoff is the simple synchronization with all the other Google services I use. I'll give it a try for a while as a start page though - the new design may win me over in the end. For more info about Netvibes and Ginger...

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