Google Personalized Page: Widget Update

People have been criticizing Google’s home page for years.  Some love it for its streamlined simplicity while others hate it for its lack of functionality.  But gradually as Google started to branch out into other projects, an alternate version of the home page was introduced.  It became know as the “Google Personalized Page.”

If you don’t currently use the Personalized Page, you may simply have overlooked it.  When you visit www.google.com, watch for a link in the upper right corner of the page called Personalized Home.  When you click it, you will be taken to a page that prompts for login.

In order to login, you will need a Google Account.  If you already have a Gmail account, you’re all set.  Just enter your Gmail login info and you will be taken to a default version of the Personalized Page.  If you don’t have an account, select the link to create one, or signup for a Gmail account.

Once you have logged into your Personalized Page, you are ready to add content.  As an added bonus, your browser will remember that you have signed into this page.  The next time you go to google.com, rather than seeing the normal simple search page, you will see you personalized page.  You can sign out at any time to keep this from happening, should you be using Google from a public terminal.

The easiest way to add content to the Personalized Page is to click on Add Content in the upper left corner.  There, with a few simple clicks, you can add powerful features to the page.  Among other things, you can add RSS headlines from major news publications.  If you want to add a news source other than the ones listed there, you can choose the option to Create a Section.  There you simply enter the URL of any RSS feed and the content will be added to your page.

If you want even more cool “widgets” for your Personalized Page, click the More Content link, or click here.  You will be taken to a directory listing dozens of third party widgets than can be added to the page.

Once all of the content has been added to the page, you might want to customize its organization a little.  For example, you might want to put your favorite news source at the top so you can glance at it every time you do a Google search.  Or you might want to keep your Netflix widget at the top for easy access.  No matter how you want the content displayed, it is amazingly easy to rearrange.  Simply grab the widget by its blue title bar and drop it at the location on the page where you would like it!

With all of the cool things that can be added to the Google Personalized Page, I have to admit that I use it mostly as a news aggregator.  It puts all of the headlines from my favorite sites in one place where they are easy to read.  But with new widgets being added every week, it seems the usefulness of the Personalized Page will only continue to grow.


Steve

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