Tip of the Day: Customize Your Google Homepage

I hadn’t realized it until earlier today, but I’ve grown really dependent on my customized Google homepage. It’s the first thing I see when I open up Firefox, so I instantly get a snapshot of happening. In my case:

  • If I have new emails in my Gmail account
  • Any new unread items in Google Reader
  • Upcoming events in my Google Calendar
  • Uptime statuses for several of our servers at work, along with the web server for this blog
  • Updates to changes in the Ruby on Rails core
  • The current weather for Grand Forks.
  • RSS feeds for several high-volume sites that cause too much noise if I subscribe to them in my feed reader (I just see the last five items for each)

Here’s what my Google dashboard looks like:

google_dashboard

If you haven’t already, I suggest you give it a try yourself. Just go to www.google.com/ig to get started. Google also has a huge directory where you can select from hundreds (maybe thousands) of different widgets to put on your customized homepage.

Things get really useful if you’re using Google’s other services like I am (Reader, Gmail, Calendar, etc.). The ability to gather all of your info and see it in one place is very, very nice, and saves me from jumping from tab to tab in the browser.

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