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:
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.