Welcome to the wonderful world of iGoogle. Let’s check it out!
iGoogle is Google’s attempt at producing a customizable homepage where you can add widgets (similar to little programs or Web sites) to a page, change the way it looks and make it exactly how you want it to be. Basically, it is a page where you can check on certain content, such as your e-mails, appointments, the latest news and so on.
There are a massive number of widgets available for you to add to iGoogle, along with several different page types. For example, you could have a page dedicated to the news and weather, a page just for your e-mails and a page with your calendar on it. It’s all up to you! iGoogle uses your Google account to deliver your custom pages. So, for example, it can see your calendar, your latest Google documents, your e-mails, etc. to display it all on one page.
So, let’s get straight into it and create your own iGoogle page! First, you will need to go to www.google.com/ig. This will take you to the default iGoogle page.
In order to use iGoogle, you will need to have a Google account already set up. If you don’t have one, you can sign up for one here. Once you have a Google account, click on the Sign In link in the top right hand corner. Next, put in your Google e-mail address and password and then click Sign In. It would be a good idea to check the “Remember me on this computer” option, as this will save all your information for you, so you don’t have keep logging in every time you want to use iGoogle.
Next, you will be taken to the default page again, but this time, you will be logged in, which means you can change the way the page looks.
The first thing we will do is change the theme. This will change the whole overall look of the page. To do this, click the Select Theme link, like this:
A widget will appear underneath this link where you can select a theme. There are seven different themes available. Simply click the appropriate theme image and the theme will then change.
Once you have chosen the theme you want, click the Save button and the theme will be applied. However, that isn’t all. Another widget will appear in its place for you to enter your location. This means the theme will change according to the time of the location you are at (your time zone).
You can enter your city, state or postal code if you want as well. Once you are done, click Save.
Now that we have set the theme, we will add another page. We are going to have two pages: one page for all the latest news, feeds and weather and another page for our e-mails and calendar.
First, we will rename the “Home” page to “News.” To do this, click the arrow on the Home tab and select Rename Tab.
Now, type “News” into the textbox and press Enter on your keyboard.
The tab will then be renamed. Next, we will add the E-mail tab. To do this, click the Add a tab link next to the News tab you just created. A window will appear like the one shown below, asking you to give the tab a name. Type “E-mail” into the textbox and click OK after unchecking the “I’m feeling lucky” box.
The following page will then appear. Click the big blue button in the center of the page.
You will be taken to the iGoogle widgets homepage where you can search for widgets to add to your page. For example, you can do a search for Google Mail in the search textbox at the top of the page.
Find the Google Mail widget (it will most likely be the first one) and then click the Add it now button, which is under the description.
Now, repeat the last couple of steps by searching for Google Calendar and adding it to your page.
Once you have the calendar added (and anything else you would like to add), click the “Go back to homepage” link in the top left hand corner of the page.
You can rearrange the widgets to be exactly how you’d like them by clicking the title bar of each widget and dragging it into place. There are dotted squares that clearly show you where the widget will appear.
Now, we are going to change the News page. To do this, click the News tab and take a look at all the widgets that are currently there. If you don’t want any of them on this page, simply click the “x” button in the top right hand corner for each of the widgets.
Next, click the “Add Stuff” link in the top right hand corner of the widget area.
Find the widgets you want to add. For example, BBC news, Fox News, weather or the Digg feed. There are widgets for almost everything you’d ever need, so find your favorite news provider and then follow the steps I showed you before on the e-mail page for adding each of the widgets. When you have finished, you should have something that looks like this:
You now have your very own iGoogle homepage! You can go on and add as many pages and widgets as you desire to make it your very own customized homepage.
Here are a few extra tips:
- You can change the widget settings by clicking the arrow in the top right hand corner of each widget. This will provide you with a menu of things you can do from there.
- You can set it as your homepage by doing the following: If you’re using Internet Explorer, go to Tools, Internet Options and click the Use Current button in the homepage area. If you’re using Firefox, go to Edit, Preferences and then click the Use Current Page button.
- You can collapse any widget by clicking the minimize button, which is the single horizontal line found in the top right hand corner.
Now, go on and enjoy your iGoogle!
~ Simon North