The Official Google blog just offered a post within which it was announced that several services would eventually be discontinued. Among these services was one I use daily – iGoogle.
Google describes IGoogle as a personal home page. I think “start page” or “launch page” would be a more appropriate description. Perhaps my amazement as to why this service would be discontinued is somehow related to some difference in perspective as to how we choose to describe the service. iGoogle was my home page when I launched my browser. It was customized for my needs – hence it was “personal.” Mine was built from widgets and RSS feeds. See the following image if you are unfamiliar with this service. I can obtain a quick look at information sources and then move on to the other services I use frequently. The opportunity to set a default start page seems to be going away in most browsers and it already seems this is not possible in mobile browsers.
Google made mention of Chrome and Android as justification for the decision. I wish the post would have provided more of an explanation. I use chrome as a browser and OS – the connection with the shutdown (16 more months) is not exactly obvious to me.
I went to iGoogle from NetVibes and my old page still works. I can always update that site. I suppose I could put something together in Google Sites, but I see that service as more appropriate to a public web site. I guess I assumed most folks had an Internet routine like I do and the opportunity to create a customized personal portal appropriate to personal interests would be popular. With the data Google collects, it would seem Google would know.
With so many startups looking for the next big thing, perhaps several will take a shot at improving an old thing.
P.S. It appears many have had a similar reaction. A similar sentiment from a MacWorld blogger.