Uptonian Thoughts

Google’s Improved Home Page

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Google's Web Portal

I posted earlier about Google’s customizable home page, and how Slashdot aggregation went awry. That was fixed shortly after I posted, and I have been using the Google page as my home page ever since. Last night, Google made some improvements to their page in the form of some nifty Javascript resizing and a new side bar from which to add new content to your personalized page.

Google's Web Portal

However, I had some issues before I could make the portal work properly. I use the Greasemonkey Firefox extension, and one of the scripts I had enabled Google Suggest functionality on all Google pages. It never worked on Google’s personalized web page, so I had forgotten that it was installed. This user script was preventing Google’s own Javascript on the personalized page from working properly, forcing me to use Internet Explorer to personalize my home page. I won’t link to the script because it is broken, but it is available on the Greasemonkey Script Repository.

I had a rant already written out about how Google of all companies should realize the importance of cross-platform compatibilty and conforming to standards. Of course, Google did take care of this, and it does in fact work in Firefox. Fortunately for me, I cannot post from work, so I avoided being slightly embarrassed (yeah, right, as if anyone is even reading this blog.)

Having said that, a lot of people seemed to have trouble with it on Slashdot, so either that script was quite prolific or any user script that affects the http://google.com/ig URL was interfering with the intended functionality.

After the initial speedbumps, I found that these new additions to Google’s homepage were excellent. I have Google News, a stock ticker, Slashdot, Lifehacker, and Boing Boing feeds, weather, and a Gmail preview all on my homepage. All of this is customizable with regards to size and location.

Another added bonus is the Bookmarks section. I use and love del.icio.us, but sometimes it can be a little wonky with the proxy servers at work. If I find a neat site at work or anywhere that del.icio.us is inaccessible, then I can easily and immediately add it to Google and later post to del.icio.us. I realize the same is available with My Yahoo!, but I haven’t really warmed to the idea of “My Web” yet.

I can’t wait to see what Google rolls out next.