Don’t you just love the Google homepage? No, I’m not talking about the Google.com search engine page. I am talking about the actual Google homepage. You know? Or maybe you’re saying, “A Google what now”?
Okay, before you drive yourself any crazier, let’s dive into this. For the uninitiated, the Google homepage is your own personalized homepage that you can create according to your needs and requirements. Google just gives you the space and the tools and you assemble it by filling it up with different kinds of content.
Usually, a user will include the information he or she needs to access regularly. For instance, their Gmail e-mail account, various news Web sites, weather forecasts, stock quotes, bookmarks for quick access, to do lists, etc. Personalizing this homepage is so easy and you can do it with or without signing into your Google account. However, if you share your computer with someone else or if you work on multiple computers during the course of your day, it’s a good idea to sign in to Google services to customize your homepage.
The above screenshot is how mine looks. Useful? Impressive? Well, to make your own, you just need to go to http://www.google.com/ig. Once you sign in using your Google account, you can start personalizing your space right away. Click on the Personalized Homepage link in the top right corner of the page to start. To add various sections to your homepage, click on Add Content, which will open up the Google directory. Once you add a section to your page and it appears there, you can click on the Edit link to modify its settings. And lastly, to move any of the sections around, just click and drag. Easy enough, right?
Now that you have learned how to add content to your personalized homepage, you can take a peek at the range of content that Google has provided you with. Adding all of this to your Google homepage is just a matter of clicking the Add It Now button below the specific item that you want to include.
Now, I am going to tell you about a nifty little trick that will make your Google homepage seem even more useful. If you use Firefox as your main browser, you can have this Google homepage permanently present by your side in the form of a little sidebar. Let me show you how.
I am assuming that you know what Firefox is, you have installed it and are using it religiously. So, if you do, go ahead and open up the Google homepage in Firefox. Again the URL is http://www.google.com/ig.
Line up all of your sections in the Google homepage to the left. It’s a good idea to put the ones you use the most on top. All your sections should be in a straight line toward the left of your homepage. Now that everything has been arranged in the order you want it to be, bookmark this page and give it a name like “Google Homepage” or something else that will remind you what it is.
Once this is done, go to the toolbar and click on Bookmarks, Manage Bookmarks. In the new window that pops up, locate the entry for the Google homepage that we just bookmarked. Once you find it, right click and select Properties. Another little window will then open.
Now, check the box that says “Load this bookmark in the sidebar” and click OK. Next, just click or double click on the Google Homepage entry in your bookmarks and it will automatically open up in the sidebar to your left. Is that cool or what?
To make it even easier, you can add the link to this homepage in your Bookmarks toolbar. To do so, click on Bookmarks, Manage Bookmarks again and drag the Google homepage link that we bookmarked a little while back and drop it in the folder that says “Bookmarks Toolbar Folder.” Once you do that, you will see a new tab on your main toolbar with a link to this Google homepage. Clicking this will open the sidebar that we just added.
Now, you can use the Google homepage without opening it in its separate tab. No need to shift between different windows again and again. With the right selection of sections, this can turn out to be a very effective tool for all of your work. Now that you have gone through the entire article, how much do you love Google right about now?!
~ Yogesh Bakshi