I’ve been seriously bummed by the news that Google is shuttering some of its better services, including Google Reader and iGoogle. I’ve used both for years and like many people, I’m exploring new options ahead of the shutdowns.
Last fall, when the iGoogle news broke, I did a quick search on replacements and got a short list to explore. The first site I landed on was Protopage, which uses tools similar to the widgets within iGoogle. It’s decent — but really busy. Also, the search bar in the upper right-hand corner is way too small for my liking. One feature I do like a lot is how it puts a strike-through on visited links, to remind you that you’ve already been there. For someone like me who can often forget if he’s been to a link or not, it’s handy to have such an obvious visual clue. Yes, yes, I know that links change color after they’re clicked on, but this just seems better to me.
I wasn’t fully satisfied, though, with Protopage, so I decided during lunch today to explore more options and found this page which rates six different replacement options. So far, I’ve only been to igHome, but I like what I’m seeing there, particularly with the links at the top to Gmail, etc. I will explore the other options (Protopage is one of them), but igHome looks really good out of the gate.
Switching to the RSS aggregator, Feedly is the first I’ve looked at, and man, it’s slick. I’m not sure I’m going to even bother trying out other pages, it’s that good. I’m a fan of how it lays out new content on the sites you’re following in it. It’s a bit slow some times, but I chalk that up to the rapid growth they’re probably experiencing due to the looming Google Reader shutdown. All in all, I’d say it’s a winner.
I still hold out hope that Google will relent with Reader, but I don’t expect them to change their minds about its future. It’s been a while since I experimented, anyway, so I’ll go with the phrase on a poster in my training room: Change is Good.