I used to be a user of Google Personalized Homepage quite religiously because of the extensive list of modules that they have available but I recently decided to make the switch to Netvibes. I didn’t think it would be that easy because there were some “Google only” modules that I thought I would miss, such as the one for Google Reader and the one for Google Calendar.
I made the switch about a month ago when Google released the tabs feature for the Personalized Homepage. Yeah, it is a little ironic that Google releases a cool new feature and that is what made me switch to Netvibes. Primarily I changed because I heard so often that Netvibes was better, but I had not given it a fair shot yet. On top of that Netvibes released some stats that said they have over 5 million users…which definitely shows that they are doing something right.
Like most people who start using Netvibes you will find a majority of the best modules located in the “Add Content” sidebar. Besides for modules they also have some of the most popular feeds in the Feed Directory, and CyberNet happens to be located in the Internet – Web 2.0 -> Web 2.0 directory. :)
Here is a quick overview of the actual modules that I chose from the sidebar:
- To Do List
- Calendar (I use the iCal address from my Google Calendars)
- Blog Search
- Web Search
- Video Search
One of the most useful features in Netvibes is probably the built-in feed reader. After you add a feed it will look just like the one that your Google Homepage has except when you click on a title you will receive a full-screen view of the articles from that site:
The last thing that I wanted to cover was making your own modules. Maybe you won’t be able to find something that does exactly what you are looking for but if you have a little programming skill then you can probably make your own module without any troubles. Even I created a module that will retrieve your FeedBurner feed subscriber numbers for the current day and the previous day. It utilizes a feature that FeedBurner offers and as long as a site makes their numbers publicly available you can track them, there are no usernames or passwords needed:
Note: My Feedburner module is now available at Netvibes.
I think you would probably be surprised at how may sites use FeedBurner. Slashdot and Gizmodo both use FeedBurner but they pay extra in order to have “their own” feed URL instead of one that obviously points to FeedBurner. Unfortunately they have blocked people from viewing the number of subscribers but there are several sites that it still works for such as GigaOm. They don’t publish the number of subscribers on their site but using this method you can see that they have around 35,000.
Overall, I have to admit that I am much more impressed with Netvibes than I was with Google Personalized Homepage. It has a lot more to offer and they are consistent about adding new and useful things. Netvibes is going to be a keeper for me and I would like to thank to everyone who recommended that I try it!