Google gets both praise and criticism for having such a plain and simple search page. While I like the simple page with nothing other than a white background and a search box, others are looking for something more. If you prefer to use Google as your primary search engine but you want to personalize the page, checkout Groovle.
–What is Groovle?–
Groovle allows you to create a custom Google search page specifically for your use. You get to select the picture that you want in the background whether it’s one of their images, or one of your own. The creator of Groovle.com, Jacob Fuller says “For the past couple of years I wondered to myself why my homepage was so plain looking and why there wasn’t an option available to make it more alive” thus the reason he went on to create a search page that feels “alive.” Groovle is pretty new so there’s not much to it, but they say that they’ll be adding new features in the future.
–What I like–
It’s great that no registration is required, and that you can upload your own picture to use as the background image for your customized Google search page. Keep in mind though, the image must be in JPG, GIF or PNG format. The fact that you can use your own picture for the background is certainly a benefit because other personalized sites like iGoogle or NetVibes don’t allow you to upload your own image. I also like that it functions exactly the same as a Google search because it’s powered by Google Custom Search. If you trust Google, you’ll have no reason not to trust Groovle.
A few additional features I like:
- There are many homepages already made for you to choose from if you don’t want to create your own.
–How to Create A Custom Page–
- Go to www.groovle.com and select the option to “create a unique homepage using your own images”
- Browse for the image that you want to use (size limit is 1.5 MB)
- Select whether you want the image to be displayed fullscreen, tiled, or framed
- If you want, enter in your email address so that your custom homepage URL can be sent to you. It’s a long address consisting of a bunch of letters and numbers, so you’ll want to have it emailed to you unless you bookmark it
- Your page will be created, and then you can drag the search bar wherever you’d like it
Below is a screenshot of the Groovle page that I put together:
Should you decide that you don’t want to upload your own image, there are many homepages already made with a variety of different backgrounds. Backgrounds include:
–What I don’t like–
Groovle is simply a search page and not a whole lot more. I’m not fond of the fact that all you can do is search from the page which is something you can with tons of other sites. There’s nothing to really draw people in and keep them coming back. I also think it would be a good idea if they allowed users to resize the photo that they upload. As it stands, once you upload it, that’s it – there’s no altering the size. If you decide to use this service, make sure that your image is the right size before you upload it.
Here are a few suggestions to make Groovle better!
- Make it more customizable by allowing RSS feeds or the option to add “gadgets” to the page so that it feels more personal and serves an additional purpose other than just a customized search page
- Give users more of a reason to come back – they can search anywhere and besides a picture, there’s not too much that’s unique only to Groovle.
–Wrapping it up–
While Groovle is… well.. nice, I can’t see myself using it often. My fingers are just used to typing Google.com when I need to perform a search, and I’m sure most of you out of habit do the same thing whether it’s with Google, Yahoo, Ask, MSN, etc. This leaves me wondering if Groovle will be around for long, especially knowing that others have made similar services in the past and got shut-down by Google.
If you’re looking for a personalized homepage, Groovle isn’t what you are looking for. However, if you’re looking for a way to spice up and personalize the Google search page, Groovle will do just that.