Lately, Google has pulled the plug on several of its services, with Google Reader’s demise getting most of the attention. iGoogle was another casualty of Google’s operation cleanup, leaving many long-time users without their personalized home page. If you are looking for an alternative to iGoogle that allows you to create a browser start page with your favorite bookmarks, RSS feeds and widgets of popular web services all in one place and laid out according to your choice, STARTME is a free service that’s definitely worth giving a try. Details after the jump.
Getting started with STARTME isn’t complicated at all; simply head over to its home page via the link provided at the end of this post, and register an account there by specifying your email address and choosing a password. There’s no email activation required, and your account is created instantly.
You can also download and install the Firefox Add-on or the Chrome Extension of the service that lets you save new bookmarks on the fly.
Alternatively, you can simply drag the Add To STARTME bookmarklet to your bookmarks bar. You will then be able to add any current site or webpage to your STARTME page by clicking this bookmarketlet, as demonstrated in the screenshot below. The bookmarklet will work on not just Chrome and Firefox, but pretty much any modern browser including Opera, Safari, Internet Explorer and possibly others as well.
You can create multiple pages on the service, each with its own theme and bookmarks, RSS feeds and widgets. Though, to give you a head start, your first page comes prepackaged with several bookmarks of famous sites including Google, Facebook, Twitter, Bing, Yahoo, CNN etc. The STARTME page also carries a search field using which you can perform a quick search on Google, Bing, Yahoo and Wikipedia.
The pages can be completely personalized according to your liking. You can add a custom name and background wallpaper of your choice to each page. That said, pages can also be shared among your friends via making them public.
You can switch the current viewing mode for each page between public and private, the only difference being that Public pages can be viewed by others and private ones are only accessible by you. All new pages are set to Public by default, but you can switch the mode to private via clicking a small link at the top-right.
Look at the top-left and you will notice four links: Theme, URL List, RSS Feed and Widgets. The first lets you change the background of your page, while the latter three are used to specify the item type you want to add in your page. RSS feeds can be added manually, or imported via an OPLM file.
The widget choice available is quite limited at the moment, but the one’s that are there are quite handy nonetheless.
In a nutshell, a great service to quickly store and sync your bookmarks to the cloud so you may access them anywhere.