Friday, 20 July 2012

Startpages Revisited - 2012

A few years ago I tried out a number of Startpages and Netvibes fitted with what I wanted to have easily at my fingertips.
Things change so I've revisited what is available to see if there is a better solution.

To save you scrolling to the bottom, my findings are in the next paragraph.
If you are new to the idea of Startpages, come back to the findings after reading the rest of the post.

Findings 2012
There doesn't seem to have been a huge increase in the number of Startpage sites over the last few years.
Netvibes still rides tall although Google have announced that iGoogle will be 'retired' on 1 Nov 2013 because they feel there is less of a need for Startpages now that web and mobile apps have put personalized, real-time information at people's fingertips (iGoogle diehards can use Apps in their Chrome browser however).

Startpage Further Details
A Startpage is a place where you can gather together all the web based sites and tools that you use regularly. Although browser bookmarks can do a similar job there are functions offered by Startpages that make them a better 'one stop shop'. Startpages offer a type of 'virtual desktop'. They have also been called Aggregators (although these are often more focused on News Aggregation), Personal Portals (often more concerned with promoting yourself to the wider world) or Dashboards (usually more to do with visual display of data).

A review in 2007 by James Mowery covered the most popular 14 sites:
  • Netvibes - the one to beat - customisation is a major strength.
  • Pageflakes - the main competitor.
  • iGoogle - not as polished as the others although gadgets are being given a big push.
  • MyYahoo - playing catch-up.
  • yourminis* - very cool virtual desktop type but flash based.
  • WebWag - clean interface but lacking customisation.
  • Schmedley - has potential but some quirks and bugs.
  • Eskobo - very fast but few features.
  • Windows Live - not as good as its main competitors (Google, Yahoo).
  • Favoor - disappointing - bugs.
  • Gritwire - more of an RSS reader.
  • Inbox - an extremely simplified iGoogle.
  • Protopage - virtual desktop - good but yourminis is much better.
  • It'sAStart - not a serious competitor yet.
A comparison of the major functional features you would expect from a Startpage is shown below:

A comparison site ( provides further information about Startpages and the following rankings (date unknown):

"Ultimately, there’s no “best” Startpage. Netvibes and Pageflakes are not short on content, and offer amazing customization. iGoogle and My Yahoo are great options if you already use those services. Schmedley and yourminis* approach the market uniquely, and some people swear by them."

In the last couple of years some new sites have emerged but with a brief look they don't seem to be breaking new ground.
The nice people at Google think that Startpages have had their day and will be 'retiring' iGoogle (shades of Blade Runner in this terminology!) towards the end of 2013. I agree that Apps running on smartphones and pads make it really easy to get to the same sort of information, links, subscriptions etc as my Startpage. However, I spend a lot of my working day on a PC and having a PC based Startpage still makes my life easier. The Google people must think so too otherwise why would they provide Apps for the Chrome Browser (

*Note - Startpages that have bitten the dust:
  • yourminis
  • schmedley?
  • Eskobo
  • Goowy
  • Live (
  • Pageflakes
  • Zoozio

**Note - If you have scrolled to the bottom of the page to see the conclusion / recommendations - you missed it - it's at the top of the page (wakey, wakey).

I've closed my Startpage, turned off my smartphone and pad - time for a break.....


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