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iGoogle vs Netvibes, now it’s personal

So that’s what IG in the URL stands for. It stands for iGoogle. Right, now I know. But a lick of paint and a few time-related visual themes do not a Netvibes maketh.

It’s quite a departure for Google, to offer something unapologetically visual, seemingly at the expense – or at the very least in the absence of – some substantiative changes.

Especially when the hallmark of many of Googles’ web applications has been its visual austerity and bandwidth-friendly minimalism.

I myself used iGoogle before I discovered Netvibes. But when I discovered Netvibes, it was like when I discovered the Mac and moved away from the Windows PC all of those years ago.

I did so without too much of a good reason to look back.

But for those more familiar, Google IG – or Google Personal, as I’ve referred to it in the past, which we now know is really iGoogle – know that iGoogle has been kickin’ about for a couple of years:

“The team behind the product had originally planned to call it ‘iGoogle’ only to be vetoed at the last minute by Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, said Marissa Mayer, the company’s vice president of search products and user experience.”

When I imagined what might be next for Google, a quick lick of paint and an aging naming convention for their new sub brand didn’t immediately spring to mind.

But then it would appear that the name may be a reference to its point in time, more so even than it’s purpose these days.

As of last night, a friend in Colombia also found that she has access to iGoogle, too. So the roll-out seems to be picking up pace:

“Google is offering the personalization option in 18 more countries, up from 22 previously.”

And she actually prefers iGoogle to Netvibes. But she’s weird that way.

For me, there’s more that Google can do, and given that iGoogle has been somewhat of a quiet pet project, maybe now that Messrs. Brin & Page are warming to iGoogle, more substance will be in the offing.

Google getting more personal

“Getting more people to log in to the site is important to Google because it allows the company to log more data that helps its algorithms better understand the nuances underlying many search requests that could have multiple meanings.”

Now that’s interesting. The metrics that Google will be reeling in will tell them a lot.

But what interests me more is the things like the use of tabs within iGoogle, as well as the types of gadgets being used, and maybe the use of specific gadgets.

Taking it a step further, what about the feed sources coming through their gadgets?

So for instance, Google could have a ‘Gadget of the Day’ feature, which might highlight not only more commercial, or more mainstream gadgets from reliable sources, but maybe gadgets that play host to feeds from popular ‘blogs from the likes of me, for example .. hint, hint!

And that’s just a few simple ideas, but there’s a whole load of things that Google can do, all of which they need to be quick about.

I don’t see Netvibes Universe sitting around twiddling it’s thumbs waiting for iGoogle to catch up…

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By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

9 replies on “iGoogle vs Netvibes, now it’s personal”

I’ve never tried Netvibes, but I’m thinking maybe I should. However, I used to use Pageflakes before I switched to Google Reader (which I vastly prefer), so I may have the opposite point of view to you! I’ll go in with an open mind, though…

Hi Brian!

Depends on what you want, but for me, it’s ideal for getting at my feeds from wherever I am, and moving stuff between home and office my Box.net.

Let me know how you get on…

Hello! The friend in Colombia here! I’m enjoying iGoogle very much! I am sure Netvibes has a lot more functionality, but sometimes more is less and viceversa. I prefer iGoogle because it’s cleaner, easy to use and the themes are just pretty, I have “Sweet Dreams” on, right now. Net Vibes is kind of too much, and I got frustrated when I couldn’t change the settings to match my location, whereas I easily did that in iGoogle. I guess I’ll keep reading to see what else you dig up about these two.
Carolina.

I’ve sort of cornered the market on search traffic for query: “Google versus Netvibes” which surprised me a little.

There are others out there, so I ought to sign up and see what they’re up to, too…

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