Personalized Google homepage


I can’t say enough cool things about Google. Today I discovered a new Google application that makes life easier. Welcome to the era of “Personalized Google Home”^TM^.

Personalized Google Home allows you to replace the standard Google home page with your own personalized content. The options here are virtually limitless. On your Google home page, visit you can show your Gmail box with links to the most recent messages, bookmarks to your favorite web sites, top news stories from a variety of sources, local weather, local movie show times, personalized news searches, and more.

You have to try this out for yourself. Go to the Google homepage, and click on Personalized Home (link is in the upper-right corner).

Now, if you have a Gmail account, log in with that. If you don’t have one, shoot me an email and I’ll send you an invite to create one.

Once you are on the personalized home page, there is a lot you can do. The first time you see this page, you can click the link to “Personalize your Google homepage.” (If you have already personalized it and want to make changes, look for the Add content link in the top left corner.) A sidebar will show up on the left side of the screen.

Click on the colored titles to see all the sections you can add to your page. When you find a section you want on your page, click the add button next to it. The section will appear at the top of the left column. Click anywhere in the section title bar to drag it to a different location on the page.

There are a couple of really cool sections that you should look at. First, there is the “Customized News” section (found in News | Google News | Customized News). When you click the add button for the Customized News section, a new section appears in the top left column of your page. Type in any topic that you want to see news on, and a section with that title will appear on your page. Let’s say, for example, that you are interested in the sport of geocaching. Type in “geocaching” in the field, and then your Google home page will always show current news stories related to the sport of geocaching. Interested instead in long arm quilting, or in ham radios, real estate investing, or something else? Now you can get personalized news on your favorite (even obscure) topics!

Another cool section that you should check out is the “Create a section” option. This section lets you create use RSS Feeds from other websites to get the most recent content. For example, to see the most recent posts from my blog on your Google home page, you would click the “Create a section” option, and then put the following URL in the search box:

http://blog.paulpehrson.com/rss

and then click “Go”. My blog’s news feed is added to your Personalized Google Home page. You can then edit the section to modify the limit on the number of stories shown, you can drag the title bar to a different location to move the section, or you can delete the section if you decide that you don’t want it anymore.

Your personalized home page will now appear whenever you go to Google.com. If you prefer the classic Google interface, you can always click the “Classic Home” link. Your personalized settings are saved, however, so when you want to go back, just click the Personalized Home link.

You know, today is Google’s 7th birthday. So, you can consider this personalized desktop a type of birthday present. Only this time it is from the birthday celebrator itself!

Happy 7th birthday, Google! Thanks for another great application!


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