iGoogle May Be Dead, But The Startpage Lives On
I have no idea how many people still use startpages (big with Yahoo! users perhaps?), but I imagine it’s not too much of a stretch to think that the number has been steadily declining from what was probably never a huge number of serious users in the first place.
Of course, the startpage is almost synonymous with the “widget” era (which in many ways is still going strong, just not the way people imagined in the middle of the last decade), so as widgets “died” so to did any real need for the startpage – right?
Well, I’m not so sure. Though startpages never really caught fire, the idea still holds a lot of appeal I believe. Take Windows 8 & Windows Phone 7/8 for example – they’re basically a better looking version of the old startpage. Homescreen widgets (there’s that word again) in Android also form a kind of startpage as well, though they are not as prominent as in Windows 8. iOS, however, hasn’t really followed the startpage pedigree – a fact that I think has hurt it, frankly.
Beyond these operating systems, the idea of a dashboard has certainly stuck with us hard, as the continued popularity of Tweetdeck (the old version of course) and Hootsuite has shown. Beyond Tweetdeck, there are a ton of other dashboards like Geckoboard and Ducksboard that have serious potential (though unlike startpages, you have to pay to use them).
So it is somewhat surprising to me that instead of shuttering iGoogle, that Google didn’t instead transform it onto another platform – and the obvious choice for that would have been Google+. In fact, Google set itself up nicely to do just that: all that darn white space on the right hand side of Google+ was just begging for an iGoogle-like filling of widgets.
iGoogle might be headed to the deadpool, but the dream of the startpage is still alive.