Thing 28 in my library project is about customized home pages.
I used iGoogle to set up my page, since I have a Gmail account, my blog is on Blogger, and I use Google as my main search engine. Since I'm already oriented toward Google products, it seemed to make the most sense and be the most efficient option for me.
Getting started was quick & easy, but I found some parts of finding, installing, and organizing widgets quite challenging. I think there has to be a better way to link to some of the websites I use regularly. I thought there would be a handy way to link to Facebook, Twitter, and some other websites, but so far those are just on a list of bookmarks. I did find some Facebook-related applications, but they didn't look like anything I dared to add. Is there a security risk to adding all these little applications that ordinary people have invented? I hope to continue learning about this.
I added a Gmail reader, Google Reader for blog feeds, a to-do list (it's a cute yellow notepad), Google bookmarks, NPR news updates, time & date, local weather, a Wikipedia search box, a Google maps box, and TV listings. I actually had a hard time getting it organized. It's under two tabs by accident, which I resigned myself to. I don't need everything on that first page, I guess.
And it loads too slowly. That I don't like. It varies, but sometimes now I'm sitting there waiting for my home page to load when I open Internet Explorer. I have 3 meg DSL, so it's not like dial-up or something.
I like having Google Reader on my home page. I feel like I can branch out with following blogs, because I see new things when I open my start page, rather than having to go to so many sites. I find the themes fun - having a way to decorate my home page. And it is very handy to have Gmail just show up when I go online or go back to my home page to search. Otherwise I usually checked Gmail once a day and could miss messages, since it's not my primary e-mail.